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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 23, 2020 12:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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business administration in which participating lenders and that could include community banks, unions as mentioned earlier where all businesses go to get loans, 100 percent guaranteed which is used pay payroll period is used keep their employees employed over this period would be forgiven atthe end . >> ..
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lord, give our law lawmakers aing this upper for your words and a desire to apply your knowledge in their daily work. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in the please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god,
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indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: the eyes of the nation are on the senate. for days now we've been engaged in intense, bipartisan talks to build emergency relief legislation on an historic scale to push resources to our health care heroes and american workers and families. democrats and republicans sat
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down together. we crafted this version of the proposal together. this compromise package would push tens of billions of dollars to hospitals and health care providers. it would send direct checks to millions of american households, direct checks. it would massively expand unemployment insurance in this crisis. it would stabilize industries to prevent mass layoffs and, crucially, it would deliver historic relief to small businesses to help main street employees from being totally crushed -- crushed -- by this pandemic. but yesterday when the time came to vote on these urgent measures, our democratic colleagues chose to block it. so why are the american people still waiting? it's a good question to ask. i hear the markets are not doing
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well today. they'd like to ask the question of us, why not move? why are democrats filibustering the bipartisan bill they helped write? an appropriate question to ask this morning as the one waits -- as the country waits on us. so let meet give the american people a taste of the outstanding issues we woke up to this morning. here are some of the items on the democratic wish list over which they choose -- over which they choose to block this legislation last night. tax deduction yets to solar energy and wind energy. provisions to force employers to give special, new treatment to big labor, and -- listen to this -- new emissions standards for the airlines.
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are you kidding me? this is the moment to debate new regulations that have nothing whatsoever to do with this crisis? that's what they're up to over there. the american people need to know it. democrats won't let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the green new deal. i'd like to see senate democrats tell new york city doctors and nurses, who are literally overrun as we speak, that they're filibustering hospital funding and more masks because they want to argue with the airlines over their carbon footprint? i'd like to see senate democrats tell small business employees in their states who are literally being laid off every day that they're filibustering relief that will keep people on the
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payroll because democrats' special interest friends want to squeeze employers while they're vulnerable. squeeze these employers while they're vulnerable. i'd like to see senate democrats tell all american seniors who've seen their hard-earned retirement savings literally melt away as the markets track toward their worst month since 1931 that they're continuing to hold up emergency measures over tax credits for solar panels -- tax credits for solar panels. even with the federal reserve announcing even further steps today, the markets are tanking once again, as i said, because this body can't get its act together. and the only reason it can't get its act together is right over here on the other side of the aisle. so these are just a few of the
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completely nongermane wish list items that they're rallying behind, preventing us from getting this emergency relief to the american people right now. 11th hour demands democrats have decided are more important than americans' paychecks and the personal safety of doctors and nurses. so remember what one of speaker pelosi's top lieutenants in the house said just a few days ago -- and this is a direct quote. this is a tremendous opportunity to restrict things to fit our vision. to fit our vision. that was the democratic whip in the house just laying it out there. reminds me of the definition of washington agaffe, when a politician in washington tells you what he really means. and we heard something similar here on the senate floor, just last night -- just last night
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here was one of our democratic colleagues. quote, how many times are we going to get a shot at a $1 trillion-plus program right here on the floor right night. i don't know how many trillion-plus packages we're going to have. in other words, let's don't waste this opportunity to take full advantage and get our whole wish list done. they ought to be embarrassed, mr. president. in fact, i heard from some of them who are embarrassed. talking like this is some juicy political opportunity. this is not a juicy political opportunity. this is a national emergency. we had days of productive bipartisan talks to get to this point. senate democrats sat down with senate republicans and negotiated furiously to get to to this point. the bill now contains a huge number of changes that our
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democratic colleagues requested, including major changes. we were this close -- this close. then yesterday morning the speaker of the house flew back from san francisco. and suddenly the senate's serious bipartisan process turned into this left-wing episode of supermarket sweep. unrelated issues left and right. i'll tell you what will lower our carbon footprint, mr. president -- if the entire economy continues to crumble with house of thousands more americans laid off because senate democrats won't act. that'll lower our carbon footprint, all right. every single american outside of washington knows this is no time for this nonsense. a surgeon in fresno, california,
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says, quote, we're at war with no ammo. we are at war with no ammo. that's a surgeon in fresno. an intensive care nurse in new york city says, if we don't get the proper equipment soon, we are going to get sick. democrats are filibustering more masks and aid for hospitals? every day more americans wake up to the news that their jobs are gone -- their jobs are gone. democrats are filibustering programs to keep people on the payroll? and they're filibustering a huge expansion of unemployment insurance, which they themselves negotiated and put into the bill? hundreds of dollars extra per week for laid-off workers on top
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of existing unemployment benefits -- and democrats are blocking it? this has got to stop. and today is the day it has to stop. the country is out of time -- out of time. when the democratic house passed their phase two bill, even though senate republicans would have written it very differently, we sped it through the senate and passed it quickly, without even amending it. i literally told my colleagues to gag and vote for it, for the sake of building bipartisan momentum. because republicans understand that a national crisis calls for urgency and it calls for bipartisanship. it's time for that good faith to be reciprocated. it's time for democrats to stop
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playing politics and step up to the plate. the small businesses in their own states deserve it, their own states' emergency room doctors deserve it, their own constituents who've lost their jobs deserve it. in my home state of kentucky, the governor has effectively paused commerce across the state, and our unemployment system crashed due to demand. kentuckians need help now. and we aren't alone. i've heard the pleas from health care workers in new york and seattle. i've listened to the small business owners crying out in brooklyn and chicago. why does only one side understand that this is urgent?
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why are these hard-hit cities, our own senators are happy, really, to keep this slow-walking going on indefinitely? is that really something these folks on the other side are comfortable with, indefinitely slow-walking all of this? how can half the senate not rise to the occasion? at a time when everybody else in the country is pulling together, they're you will pulling utah -- they're pulling us apart. the examples are all over the country that we ought to look to. health care heroes to neighborhood volunteers to national industries -- everybody is unifying and pitching in. what about here in the senate?
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time to get with the program. it's time to pass historic relief that we have built together. the country doesn't have time for these political games. they need progress. so we're going to vote in just a few minutes, and i assure you, mr. president, the american people will be watching. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the majority leader? is there objection? the assistant democratic leader objects. objection is heard. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. the senate is in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. well every time we hear the majority leader come out, it's a partisan screed. well, i'm in my office with the president, secretary of treasury -- the president's secretary of treasury, the president's liaison getting things done. we democrats are trying to get things done, not making partisan speech after partisan speech. now, in the past 24 hours, we
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got word that a member of this chamber, senator paul, has tested positive for coronavirus and the husband of another member, senator klobuchar also tested positive. he's in the hospital. i want to let them know, both of them, that the senate's thinking of them, praying for their speedy recovery as we are for tens of thousands of american families who are confronting the same situation right now. whether you're afraid for a sick family member, an older relative in the hospital, or are struggling without work, income, or the knowledge of when your isolation might end, our thoughts are with you right now. these are trying times for all of us, but the scourge of this disease will pass. the american people as always
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will prevail. as the number of confirmed covid-19 cases in the united states eclipses 35,000, the senate continues to negotiate what will likely be the largest emergency funding bill in american history. as i've mentioned, we've had almost continuous discussions with secretary mnuchin. he left my office at about 12:15 last night and was there at about 9:00 this morning. the white house congressional liaison has been in and out of the office as well. we're very close to reaching a deal, very close. and our goal is to reach a deal today, and we're hopeful, even confident that we will meet that goal. we've been working on a few outstanding issues that are no surprise to everyone. from the very beginning democrats have insisted on a marshall plan for our medical
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system. more money for hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, and urgent medical supplies like gloves and masks, i.c.u. beds, testing kits, ventilators. since our negotiations the numbers have gone up dramatically because the hospitals, our health care workers need the help. we're fighting hard and making progress for funding for state and local governments. they're propping up local health care networks virtually on their own. their revenues are dramatically declining. many towns and villages across america, the smaller ones in particular, might be going broke pretty soon if we do nothing. if we can help the big corporations, we can help our local towns and villages and the taxpayers they represent. on unemployment insurance, the bill has moved in a direction we've outlined. the original bill had the
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unexpanded employment benefits. last only three months. we need to make it longer because the dislocation caused by this crisis will not be over in 90 days and people who lose their jobs need help. but it says to every american who loses his or her job, the democratic plan that is now in the bill that you will get your full pay from the federal government. you can be furloughed by your employer. that means you'll keep your benefits, health and otherwise. and it means that you'll be able to come back in the business you -- and the business you had to leave will resemble itself quickly after god willing this crisis ends. the bill still includes something that most americans don't want to see. large corporate bailouts with almost no strings attached. maybe the majority leader thinks it's unfair to ask protections for workers and labor to companies that are getting hundreds of billions of dollars.
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we think it's very fair to ask for those. those are not extraneous issues. that is a wish list for workers, nobody else. and so we are looking for protection. we're looking for oversight. if this federal government is making a big loan to someone, to a big company, we ought to know it and know the details immediately. the bill that was put on the floor by the republican leader said no one would know a thing about those loans for six months at least. and in those so-called bailouts, we need to protect workers, the workers those industries employ. we've been guided by one plan, workers first. that's the name of our proposal. the bill needs to reflect that priority. now, we're working on all these items in good faith as we speak. and we hope and expect to
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conclude negotiations today. this vote in the senate is no surprise. it's to take a merely repeat of the vote that failed last night. leader mcconnell continues to set arbitrary vote deadlines when the matter of real importance is the status of the bipartisan negotiations. so let me be clear. the upcoming procedural votes are essentially irrelevant. the negotiations continue no more than 30 feet away from the floor of the senate in our offices where the real progress is taking place. once we have an agreement that everyone can get behind, we're prepared to speed up the consideration of that agreement on the floor. so i'm going to get back to negotiations. we all know time is of the essence. the country is facing the twin crises in our health care system and in our economy.
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we have an obligation to get the details right, get them done quickly. that doesn't mean blindly accepting a republican-only bill. that was the bill we were given. lots of things we didn't even know about saturday. that means working to make this bill better, better for our small businesses, better for our working families, better for our health care system. democrats, democrats will not stop working with our republican counterparts until we get the job done. i'll continue to update the senate on the progress of our negotiations. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: is there objection?
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mr. schumer: i object. i object. the presiding officer: the democratic leader's objection is heard. ms. collins: this is unbelievable. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senator from maine be allowed to speak for a few minutes. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: is there objection? the democratic leader's objection is heard. is there objection? the democratic leader's objection is heard. the senator from louisiana. a senator: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader's objection is
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heard. mr. schumer: i would simply like to know for the sake of the members -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. schumer: i ask consent to speak for 30 seconds. the presiding officer: is there objection? the senate is in a quorum call. is there objection to removing the quorum call? mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: is there objection to removing the quorum call? mr. schumer: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: there is no -- mr. schumer: i have the floor. the presiding officer: no you do not. the senate is in a quorum call. you asked that the -- mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. schumer: i simply would like to ask the leader before we have these speeches because we were supposed to vote for the next time after he and i spoke, what is the schedule for the rest of the day? would he respond -- the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, it's my understanding they're going to let us voice vote this?
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the presiding officer: mr. schumer: we have no objection to -- voice voting the first two and then would like to vote if the leader wants now on the third and then we can have the speeches. mr. mcconnell: what you're proposing we voice vote two and then the cloture vote occurs automatically? the presiding officer: that is correct. mr. mcconnell: parliamentary inquiry. does the cloture occur -- the presiding officer: yes, the cloture pops and occurs automatically. mr. mcconnell: i propose that we voice vote the first two and then pause so that there are some speeches allowed by members up to an hour, speeches allowed by members before the cloture. -- the cloture vote. mr. schumer: as long as we have a schedule, i have no objection to that.
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the presiding officer: the understanding of the chair is that there will be voice votes on the first two motions and then there will be an hour of debate equally divided -- there will be an hour of debate prior to a vote on the cloture motion upon reconsideration. the majority leader. the hour -- the understanding of the chair is that the request is that the hour of debate would be equally divided prior to the cloture vote on the motion to proceed. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to the motion to reconsider the vote by which cloture was not invoked on the motion to proceed to h.r. 748. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. those opposed no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to.
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mr. mcconnell: i move to reconsider the vote by which the cloture was not invoked on the motion to proceed to h.r. 748. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. all opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. there is now an hour of debate equally divided under the previous order. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i also ask the vote be 30 minutes in length. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the vote will be 30 minutes in length. so ordered. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, we are in the midst of a crisis in our country, a crisis caused by the coronavirus. i cannot believe that the answer to this crisis as we move to
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address the economic consequences that are so severe for the people of this country that the answer from our friends on the other side of the aisle is delay, delay, delay. no sense of urgency. no hurry. i will tell you, mr. president, i've had the honor to serve in this body for many years. never, never have i seen republicans and democrats fail to come together when confronted with a crisis. we did so after 9/11. we did so with the financial meltdown in 2008. here we are facing an enemy that is invisible but equally
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devastating to the health of our people and to the health of our economy. and yet unbelievably the democratic leader objected to my even being able to speak this morning. is that what we've come to? the democratic leader objected to our convening at 9:00 this morning so that we could begin working in eastern -- earnest. is that what we've come through? we've been working on a bipartisan basis task force with both republicans and democrats making very good progress and putting together a comprehensive package, the third package that we have dealt with. this one is to address and prevent the economic devastation
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that is being caused by this virus. we don't have another day. we don't have another hour. we don't have another minute to delay acting. i have talked with businesses all over my state, small mom and pop businesses like a diner, a third generation diner operated by the simonas family in lewiston, maine. for the first time ever, they have had to close their doors. as linda simonas told me through tears yesterday, we -- this is the first time ever we have been unemployed. our son is unemployed. our friends who have worked with us at this diner for years are
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unemployed. and we have a very good plan that we have worked in a bipartisan way. marco rubio and i on the republican side. ben cardin and jeanne shaheen in very good faith on the democratic side, that would help these small businesses and keep their employees paid. keep their employees getting paychecks. how can that possibly be controversial? how can any of us want to see millions of americans lose their paychecks, their health insurance, their contributions to their retirement plans? we have a package that's part of this broader legislation. as the majority leader pointed out just yesterday, had we invoked cloture, that's not the end of the process. there still could have been 30 hours for us to refine this
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package. and keep in mind, every single one of these task forces has been bipartisan. do we agree on everything? of course not. but surely, surely in this time of extreme crisis for our country, when people are getting sick, when people are dying from the coronavirus, when we are facing unemployment rates which could go as high as 20%, according to the treasury secretary, surely we ought to be able to pull together and work quickly to respond to the needs of the american people. mr. president, i cannot believe the objections to proceeding to this package. is this package perfect? no, but that's why negotiations
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are still going on. but don't we want to act quickly to provide relief to the american workers? this is disgraceful. we do not have time. time is not on our side. let's get the job done for the american people. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: mr. president, i rise because my dear friend i can tell is very upset, and i'm upset. i'm upset that we're at this point. i really am. i am working with you on so many things in a bipartisan way, always have, always will. with that being said, -- i haven't been here as long as many of you have or have the experience that you have. but the way i understand it, voting for cloture takes a 60-vote threshold except for the judges, which basically the previous leader, harry reid, senator reid, from nevada
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changed. i was opposed to that. we're in a situation now to where if you vote to yes on cloture and then you're not in agreement with the bill, then it only takes 51. that seems to be the reason that everyone is saying wait a minute, let's get an agreement so we can move through. that's what i have always heard. that's the way i understand it. so they are afraid basically if you vote for cloture, even though it's not the things you're wanting or haven't been negotiated out, then you vote for 51, even with the 30 hours of hearing, and then it goes from there. then we're back to where we have not had any negotiation because the majority has the control, 51. that's what i think the fear is here. the problem that we have in west virginia right now, you can throw all the money at wall street you want to. you can continue to put trillions upon trillions. people are afraid to leave their home. they are aafraid because they're afraid of the health care. i have got workers who don't have masks. i have got health care workers who don't have gowns. i have got hospitals that won't
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be open another 60 days if they have no cash flow. and it looks like we're worried more about the economy than we are the health care and the well-being of the people of america. yes, sir. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i question is does the senator understand that even if cloture were invoked, there is still 30 more hours? mr. manchin: we know that. mr. mcconnell: so in what way i would ask my friend from west virginia would your side be disadvantaged by that? the american people are waiting for us to act today. the senator from maine has laid it out very clearly, as she always does, we don't have time for this. we don't have time for it. mr. manchin: let me ask you a question. mr. mcconnell: in what way would the democratic minority be disadvantaged? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. the senator from west virginia has the floor. mr. manchin: 30 hours or 30 days. as long as you have the majority, 51 votes rules. so the final vote is going to be on passage whether you have to negotiate or not with us. provided the majority leader.
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mr. mcconnell: if my friend would yield, we would have to get cloture again once we got on the bill. in other words, this is cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill. let me explain it to my good friend from west virginia. mr. manchin: i understand. mr. mcconnell: here is the way it works, colleagues. we have been fiddling around, as the senator from maine pointed out, for 24 hours -- the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia has the floor. mr. mcconnell: can i -- mr. manchin: i know where you're coming from on this. we just have a little different opinion about this. mr. mcconnell: i thank my friend from west virginia. our colleagues would benefit from understanding where we are. we have been fiddling around for two days on the motion to proceed. mr. manchin: yeah. mr. mcconnell: if my friend, if that were invoked, there is still 30 more hours postcloture on the motion to proceed. once you get on the bill, you have to go through it again. so there is no way in which -- the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: we should be able to get a deal and we can move
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forward with unanimous consent. we really should. that's what i am hoping for. i think we can do it. my whole thing is based around the health care right now. you can't throw enough money to fix this if you can't fix the health care. if you can't give my people in west virginia and across this country the feeling that we have a treatment and we're moving towards a vaccine, they're not leaving their homes. my restaurants aren't going to open up. the most important thing, how do we take care of the workers that have lost their job no fault of their own. businesses have closed same in my state as well as your state, no fault of their own. that's the package we have to get out. we have $160 billion moving right now, moving right now. so i'm saying this. it looks like things are weighted towards the wall street corporation side. true or false. we're not in front line, not one of the big four. many of us, 100 of us are not there negotiating at the table. our staffs are all having input. we're working on that. but sitting there making the
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final decisions. this comes down, can we give the confidence that we can rise to the occasion to keep the people healthy in our states? my hospitals need to stay open. my health care workers need to be healthy. they need to be protected. and it seems like we're talking about everything else about the economy versus the health care. that doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. the people aren't getting a check right now. we can get a check to them. we should. but it seems like we're more focused on the big corporations and the health care of wall street than we are the health care of the people in rural america and main street. that's the problem that i have had on this and that's the problem that we have been talking about. so we want to fix this. i'm not talking about all the regulations you're talking about. i don't know anything about that. i will find out if it's buried in the bill and it's not what i would approve right now, we don't need it. but if you're giving all the preferences to the large corporations that can shield and hide and do buybacks and
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everything else, don't you think the american worker ought to get something or be protected some way? i think that's what it's really like. that's what we are talking about. thank you. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president, as the majority leader said, all this vote is about is shall we get on the bill? can we debate the issue? can we together decide what to do about what is the most significant health care crisis in a century in this state. can we get on the bill. we are saying yes. they are saying no. as far as the distinguished senator from west virginia says, what about the people who need help? i have a friend who e-mailed me last night and says too late. i'm closing five small businesses. these are little businesses. well, why did we not vote last night on this because in that bill is the proposal by senator collins, senator cardin, democrat, senator rubio, republican, senator shaheen, democrat, that was loans to small businesses of less than
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500 people, money so they could pay their employees in west virginia and tennessee, and then if they did that, that would be forgiven. in other words, it's a grant. they could keep working. that's for the employees, mr. president. that's for the employees, and every day we wait, they don't get paid. pass this bill, and the laidoff employees would be available for sick leave, which they weren't when the bill came over from the house. pass this bill today and the employee that was laid off last week could be available for two weeks of sick leave at today's salary. pass this bill, mr. president, and most americans will get $1,200 per person, $2,400 a couple, $500 more for a child. they would get it one day sooner if you would pass this bill -- if you had passed this bill last night. these are not controversial
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proposals on the collins, rubio, cardin, shaheen proposal. i happened to be watching robert reich, the former labor secretary for president clinton, about as far on the left as anybody goes. someone asked him what is the best single thing congress could do to help workers get their money and be paid? he said exactly what the collins, rubio, cardin, shaheen proposal would do. loan money to those and let them keep working. this about big corporations. darden is a big corporation. it owns lots of sprawrnts. gaylord is a big corporation. it owns opry land. if it has a credit problem and the federal reserve board can make sure it has enough money to stay in business, all the people who work at the grand ol' opry can continue to have jobs. if they don't, they will be out of work. now, what's wrong with that?
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i mean, the goal of that, whether you work for a big company or a little company, you're still an american citizen , whether you work for fedex or the local diner. and as far as solving the problem of the disease, and then i will let others speak, pass this bill and one day sooner, we would have $10 billion to accelerate treatments. treatments are what we need. to accelerate vaccines. vaccines are what we eventually need. pass this bill, and we would have $75 billion for hospitals. $10 billion for those diagnostic treatments i just mentioned. $1.7 billion to buy more masks. all of that can happen one day sooner if the other side weren't trying to attach its political agenda to a crisis bill. this is no time to be running a political campaign. as the majority leader said, the house, dominated by democrats,
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sent us their ideas. we passed it through without a single amendment, even though we didn't agree with many of their ideas. we worked for days with our counterparts on the democratic side and have proposed a bill with their ideas, such as unemployment compensation, $600 per person. that's twice as much as you get in unemployment compensation without this bill in tennessee. so finally i would say, mr. president, pass this bill, and one day sooner a tennessee worker, instead of getting $326 would get nearly $1,000 if he or she has been laid off. there is no excuse for delaying getting on this bill, and it's outrageous that it will happen. mr. thune: mr. president. the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. thune: mr. president, i think we all know what's happening here. the leader pointed it out in his opening remarks. everything was going really quite well. there were a lot of working groups that were meeting. there was great bipartisan cooperation. both sides were getting ideas
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included in a plan. and then yesterday, the speaker of the house showed up with an agenda, and all of a sudden it got taken over at the leadership level. so now instead of talking about helping workers, we're talking about the green new deal and all kinds of other things that demands that the unions and other special interest groups want to see in this deal. but the throwaway line that this is about bailouts for big corporations, really? are we going to do that again? are you guys going to come over here and block votes and use the line that this is a bailout for big corporations? you heard what senator alexander just said. this has money in it for workers. this has money for families. this has money for small businesses. lots of money. $300 billion is going to go to checks. $1,200 per person, $2,400 per
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couple, $500 per child for everybody. up to $75,000 for a single and $150,000 for a married couple filing jointly. $250 billion in here for unemployment insurance, as the senator from tennessee pointed out to plus up and top off those unemployment funds that the states have. add $600 per person per week for the next three months. that's going to help unemployed people in this country. the small business loan program that was just alluded to that senators rubio and collins and cardin and shaheen have worked on is a $350 billion program that allows small businesses to pay their employees, to keep them employed, so they keep their jobs, those jobs don't a way. that right there is $900 billion going to workers. senator alexander pointed out, there's over $242 billion in this bill that's going out to
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help out with health care. and we all know we got to help our hospitals. and between the $75 billion in direct spending in this particular provision and the $25 billion or more that's going to be part of the medicare i guess pros, that's $1 should billion for hospitals. -- that's $100 billion for hospitals. $11 billion is for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics a and other preparedness needs, $1.7 billion for strategic national stockpile, $12 billion for the military, $10 billion it for block grants to states, $12 billion for k-12 education, $6 billion for higher education, $5 billion for fema disaster relief fund, $10 billion for the airports, and $20 billion for the public transportation emergency relief. all told, $242 billion. $186 billion, i might add, goes to the states. $186 billion of the $242 billion in this part of the bill goes
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out to the states. so there's $900 -- that's another $250 billion. you're looking at $1.2 trillion, $1.3 trillion roughly of this bill that is going to health care workers, hospitals, medical providers, families, employees, and unemployed people. that's where it goes. now, yes, there is $500 billion in here to keep industries afloat that are failing. and they are failing by the day. and shedding jobs by the day. and these aren't grants, although the democrats did want some grants in here, i might add. these are loans. these have to be paid back. and bailouts usually apply to somebody who did something dumb on their own, made a bad business decision. these companies aren't in trouble because of something they did on their own. this is no fault of their own. they're in trouble because they've been shut down. shut down.
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and they all hire millions of employees in this country, so, yes, we probably need to do something to help businesses in this country so they can keep working and keep their employees working. this was put together with a lot of bipartisan input. the leader appointed task forces, the democratic leader assigned people to task forces. i observed those meet, the discussions that went on. they were bipartisan. i participated in some of those. they were bipartisan. and we came together and all these things that have been put together in this plan were developed with an idea toward getting help to workers, employees, small businesses, health care professionals, the people who are fighting the crisis on the front line. but here we are dillydallying around, can't even get on the bill. as the leader pointed out, there's another 60-vote threshold that comes later. if you want to block it then,
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you can block it then. we can't get on the bill. the country is burning. the country is burning, and your side wants to play political games. it's time to get this done. the american people expect us to act. they need action. we need to work together to get this done for the american people. but don't come out here and say over and over and over again this is bailouts for big corporations. this bill is about workers. it's about people. it's about families. it's about people who are hurting out there economically. and we need to do something about it, and we're in a position to do something about it. and it's high time that we did. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, i'd like to suggest to my friends on both sides of the aisle that we first assume the appropriate distance and then, secondly, take a deep breath. the emotions that we've seen on
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the floor on both sides of the aisle are reflected in homes across america, where families are very emotional at this moment as we face this public health crisis. it's no surprise that that is reflected on the floor of the senate but we are going to solve this problem and we are going to do it in a timely way, which the american people expect us. we've had two measures that come before us, which were addressed on a bipartisan basis with an agreement. this will be as well. now, this argument that we can't spare one minute, we can't spare one day -- i understand the sense of urgency. the house of representatives passed the second bill, the $100 billion bill, in the early morning hours of saturday. when did the senate pass the bill? wednesday. more than four days later. so $100 billion bill, which
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included medical leave, accelerated access to unemployment compensation, food, new medicaid payments to states, a guarantee that you'd never have to pay for a test -- the republican leader waited four days to call that bill. his argument was, wait a minute. the paperwork is not here. well, i checked on that because the senator from idaho raised it on the floor. and it turns out that many, many times -- and we were prepared here -- on consent you can move on a measure before the paper workstwork comes -- mr. risch: would the senator yield? mr. durbin: i would. require are issue isn't it a fact that when you were -- mr. risch: isn't it a fact that when you were up here talking did i've nuclear been able to convince a parliamentarian that we should vote on a house bill that wasn't here. it wasn't here and the republicans aren't in charge of the house. the democrats -- nancy pelosi -- the presiding officer: the
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assistant democratic leader has the floor. mr. durbin: i might say to my friend from idaho, it is not unusual for us to move upon a measure before the paper that is come across the rotunda. we do it by consent. yes, it happens here. and we were prepared to do it again. having said that, let me return -- mr. risch: mr. president, parliamentary inquiry, please. mr. durbin: reclaiming the floor. the presiding officer: the assistant democratic leader has the floor. mr. durbin: times remains on the republican time. they can use it as they wish. not at this moment. i want to finish my comment, as i allowed the senator from south dakota finish his. i hope you'll show that that respect, thank you. measures that have been raised this morning are important measures. the rubio-cardin plan is one i support. i think it is an excellent idea for dealing with the challenges of restaurants and small businesses. i support it. there's no issue in terms of whether that'll be included in the final package.
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i believe it will. i certainly hope it will. the notion of cash payments, this notion that was brought to us by the white house, i don't hear any objection whatsoever on the democratic side of the aisle for the cash payments. the notion of extending unemployment insurance and providing additional benefits under unemployment insurance, i guess we're going to argue with who came up with the idea first. but both sides agree on that basic idea. so these proposals brought before us are not in controversy, as i understand it, in the negotiations that are under way. the thing that i was concerned about and senator schumer addressed was that really focusing -- and senator manchin raised the same issue -- focusing on the threshold issue of the capacity of our health care system to deal with this public health crisis. when we hear the governor of new york this morning suggesting that the hospitals of that state have to increase their capacity by 50% and it's still might not
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be enough, it's a suggest to all of us that we need to start with health care and hospitals. it was our feeling that the bill, which senator mcconnell tried to move yesterday, was not adequate, didn't provide the necessary resources for that. i hope that when we return to this measure -- and it's been said by senator schumer and others that it could be today, and i pray that it will be -- i think you will find additional resources for hospitals and health care. in my state, that is a critical element. let me also talk about the fact that we're dealing with a bill of great importance and great magnitude. reflect for a moment that the amount of money we are talking about in this bill is roughly equivalent to the entire domestic discretionary budget of the federal government in one year. and we are dealing with this bill, as we should, on an urgent basis. we should take care to make sure we do the best we can, but not wait for the perfect -- make sure that we have something that is good and responsive to the needs that we have. i also think that the measure
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yesterday that was pushed by senator mcconnell did not provide adequate resources to state and local governments. when i talk to my governor in illinois, governor pritzker, they are expending money that ways they never dreamed of to deal with this public health crisis. they're also seeing nor unemployment insurance benefits claimed than we ever have in our history. would end to help the state and local governments. that was one of the objections we had to the bill yesterday. we didn't feel that it was adequate. when it comes to corporations and providing help to businesses large and small, count me in. i'm one of those democrats who stood for the stimulus package that president obama brought before us, because i thought it was necessary. i still believe we did the right nipping in passing that -- i still believe we did the right thing in passing that stimulus laws package. many on the other side did not. some helped larger corporations. but we learn add bitter lesson.
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many times the benefits being given and the tax breaks given translated into the stock buyback where many took the money and ran. we don't want that to happen. arguing for transparency and accountability on the money that goes to any business, large or small, is not unreasonable and used to be bipartisan. we are arguing over that debating over that, negotiating over that at this minute. i continue to be amazed at the references to the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi. she really unnerves a lot of people on that side of the aisle. she is the speaker of the house, us know. and the measures, whatever we do here, is headed over this for consideration. the fact that she would want to be party to that negotiation is not an outrageous idea. it happens to be consistent with the bicameral system of government that we have. the senator from kentucky got up and talked about how she came into the meeting and ruined the whole meeting by asserting herself as speaker of the house.
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it's reasonable for her to do that. in fact, the suggestion by senator schumer at the outset was that we have the four corners, the four leaders, democrats and republicans, and a representative of the white house for this negotiation. that approach was rejected by the senator from kentucky. we'll do our own, he says. we'll get back to you when we have a republican plan. it wasn't bipartisan from the start, and it should be all the way. it's the only way it will work. let me say for a moment that if and when -- and i pray that it will be done under circumstances where we reach an agreement. if and when we vote for cloture for the motion to proceed, at this point the senator from kentucky can offer any amendment he wishes. but this idea that it's going to be instantaneous as soon as we vote for the motion to proceed portion it's not a being if a. and it hasn't been for a long time. let me just conclude by saying this. an observation and something related to our meeting here
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today and what is going on in the united states of america. five of our members did not vote yesterday on your side of the aisle. one has been diagnosed as having covid-19. and the other four have self-quarantined because of concern about their own health. it is natural. it is naive for us to believe that that is the end of the challenge to our membership. i implore you to consider the bipartisan measure that senator portman and i have offered for remote voting. we should not be physically present on this floor at this moment. we know better. and our staff is subjected to whatever we bring on the floor in terms of viral load. let's think about this in human terms. too many of our colleagues and their families are falling prey to this disease. we should change the rules of the senate to reflect humanity and reality. it's the 21st century. voting in a remote fashion, as i've suggested with senator portman, is the best way i think
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to protect us and our families from further problems from the health viewpoint. let me close with a final word in saying this. senator schumer came to the floor and didn't say arms crossed, we're stonewalling. he said he had to leave the floor to go back to negotiate. with whom? with republican leaders from the white house and perhaps other places. that's the way it should be. we're going to get this done today. take a deep breath. everyone is emotional at this moment on both sides of the aisle. but we have a job to do and we're going to get it done. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: for the information. members, the majority has approximately 14 minutes, the minority 15 minutes. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. perdue:
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thank you, mr. president. i came from another world, where to get anything done, you had to compromise. i can't find any partners to compromise with. this bill has been characterized as another bailout for large corporations, really? that is the most amazing characterization i can hear today. when i look at this, what this bill is focused on is the american worker who in the time we've been debating this morning here, thousands have had phone calls given to them today by their employer to say we're sorry, but because of liquidity situation we have, there's no demand in our -- for our products or services. we need you to go home. that's been going on now for weeks. while we sit up here and talk and blame each other for things. the time for action is right now. this bill gives us an opportunity to bring over almost $2 trillion of liquidity to the american people who are in need. this is not about big business. as a matter of fact, i don't see any grants in here, mr. president.
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what i see are liquidity opportunities so employers can keep their relationship with the employees. we've already heard the details today, direct payments of $300 billion directly to individuals. $250 billion for three months of unemployment insurance. unprecedented. $350 billion going directly to small businesses. why? so that they can keep their employees employed, even if they're furloughed, mr. president. there are $500 billion being made available for loans through our banking community -- this is federally guaranteed loans. these are not grants. these are not moneys that are going to go to the boards and the executives and all of that. this is money that's going for the purpose of getting directly to payroll. there's $517 billion of tax deferrals on withholding taxes on the corporate side. that's a one-year deferral. it's not a guarantee. it's not a grant. there are $250 billion of other
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moneys, 180 of which is going to cities and municipalities and state. i agree with the assistant leader of the democratic party that we might need to do more for our states and local community. let's get to it if that's the biggest issue here but that's not the biggest issue. there are so many other things being thrown at this bill because it is a big bill. it's unprecedented. but let me say this. what we've done is trying to make this a situation where we can avoid a liquidity crisis causing an insolvency crisis. that's the most damaging thing we can do to the american worker. at the end of the day the american worker has something that they have. they all have in common. they have an employer. that employer is made up of investors just like you and i who invest in those companies who employ these people. this is not a government employing 150 people, 150 million people in our workforce. this is about getting the american economy a bridge -- that's all this is a bridge to weather this medical crisis that we have. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor.
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thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i appreciate the comments from the senator from georgia. there's plenty of negotiations going on. i don't know what he means nobody to negotiate with. i just spent between hours with secretary mnuchin talking about provisions of this bill. we spent hours on friday and saturday talking within our committees. i applaud senator rubio, he and senator cardin did. there's been bipartisanship but not from the majority leader. that's really fundamentally been the problem, the republican leader. let's back up. let's back up ten days. i stood on this floor, senator durbin was here, a bunch of us when senator mcconnell on a thursday night -- we were this close to agreement on -- with the house on the second package, the ones that had -- that had family, that had sick days in it. sick leave policy. we were that close. senator mcconnell decided he had to go back to kentucky to go to a political event with the
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justice of the supreme court, a political event with the justice of the supreme court -- a senator: will the senator yield. mr. brown: i'm sorry, what? a senator: will the senator yield. mr. cotton: when did the senate receive that bill from the house? mr. brown: that's not the point. the point is -- mr. cotton: will the senator yield? mr. brown: certainly. mr. cotton: will i answer my question? when did they receive -- mr. brown: i don't know the day. it was a day or two later. mr. cotton: where has the house been for the last week? where has the house been the last week? mr. brown: i have the floor and i will keep the floor. the fact is that we were in negotiations with speaker pelosi. i assume with leader mccarthy. in the senate we were this close to legislation. senator mcconnell went home. he's not -- senator cotton is not disputing the fact. he went home with a political event with the justice of the supreme court for gosh sakes. went home -- we didn't vote
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friday. we didn't vote saturday. we don't vote sunday, monday, tuesday. we didn't vote until wednesday. senator mcconnell did patched all of us just a few days ago to do negotiations within our committees. i sat with -- a senator: would the senator yield for a question? mr. brown: i'd like to sort of explain -- if the time comes out of your time, i'd be glad to. a senator: my question will be short. mr. alexander: is not true that the bill to which the senator refers was still being written over the weekend and it would have been impossible for the united states senate to vote on it before monday? mr. brown: atens to that question -- the answer to that question is no. it would have been possible. we can always suspend the rules if it's in -- we didn't vote until wednesday. let me back up. so this weekend, senator crapo and i and banking committee members were making progress on friday and saturday.
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then saturday night senator mcconnell decided that he would take everything back and write a partisan bill. don't tell us that this has been a bipartisan effort. again, senator rubio and senator cardin had some bipartisan efforts. we attempted that. but the fact is we need to learn from ten years ago the same people came to us and said we need this billout. they promised that it -- bailout. they promised that it would help people stay in their homes. they promised it would be money in the pockets of workers. the banks have done well. the executives have done well, but since then wages have basically remained flat. we -- the american people don't want another corporate bailout. they don't want to bailout for wall street. they don't want bailout for the airlines. if we're going to do a relief package, the money needs to go in the pockets of workers. we know that -- hundreds of people, thousands of people in our -- in each of our states are faced every day with the situation do i go to work? i'm sick today, do i go to work
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and possibly infect somebody else in the workplace or do i stay home and lose the pays that i need -- pay that i need in order to pay my mortgage or my rent? this plan is all about a corporate bailout. the money, $425 billion that the secretary treasury can decide is a slush fund when we're to direct that money instead of money going to workers, to food banks, to unemployment insurance, to sick day policy, to all the things that we need to do to keep businesses going and people in their homes. we have a prohibition that so far senator mcconnell has objected to on foreclosures and evictions. you all know the statistics. 40% of americans don't have $400 discretionary money in their pockets that they can use in an emergency to fix their car, whatever. if they go several weeks without pay, they will be evicted. they will be foreclosed on.
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we need senator mcconnell to actually agree to that. and when it comes to the $425 billion slush fund, we want -- we want to help these businesses, especially small businesses. we want to help the airlines but we need to make sure that this money passes through to employees. that means no corporate bailouts without investing in the dignity of work. it means if you're taking taxpayer money, no stock buybacks, no sending jobs overseas, no outsourcing your jobs to independent contractors, no golden parachutes for executives, no using taxpayer dollars to bust unions, no wage cuts for these employees, no health care or pension cuts. we put money into these businesses. this money is there not for the executives. it's there for the workers and it's there for the community. it means actually helping people stay in their homes. if you love this country, you fight for the people who make it work. we have to show the people we serve that we've learned from congress' mistake ten years ago
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when the banks did very well, thank you, in wall street -- and wall street will do very well again thank you under the mcconnell plan. we have to come together to put money in people's pockets. we need to help people stay in their homes. we need to invest in health care workers who are on the front lines. we need to mobilize american manufacturers. the partisan mcconnell plan doesn't do this. the bipartisan work we're trying to do could do this. we know we can get through this together, put this partisanship aside, come together for the people whom we serve. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. a senator: mr. president, i would defer to the gentleman from tennessee. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from social security from the r south dakota. i have a parliamentary inquiry. the presiding officer: the senator will state his inquiry. mr. alexander: mr. president, the discussion we just heard was
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about when the senate could have voted on house bill 6201 which was the bill that came over from the house. when did that bill from the house of representatives arrive in the united states senate? the presiding officer: it came to the senate on tuesday, the 17th. mr. alexander: on tuesday, the 17th. my second question is could the united states senate have voted on that bill it arrived from the house of representatives? the presiding officer: it would take consent. the senate has done it on several occasions. in one case h.r. 3630, the middle class tax relief job creation act, another case h.r. 2194, comprehensive iran sanctions, accountability and investment act it would take consent. mr. alexander: did anyone ask consent that it be voted on before wednesday? the presiding officer: the chair does not have any record
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of a request for consent. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from south dakota. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. a senator: north dakota. the presiding officer: i'm sorry. a senator: i want to talk about the bill we want to vote on right now and why it's so important that we pass it. from my part what i work on is support for our farmers and our ranchers. mr. hoeven: that's exactly what we've put in this bill is help and support for our farmers and ranchers for rural america and yet my understanding is that democrats are objecting to the help and support that we've put in this bill for our farmers and ranchers. last week the department of homeland security recognized that agriculture, our supply of food fiber and feed is one of our nation's critical industries. our country has been blessed with an abundant, affordable,
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and safe food supply that we rarely stop to notice but that we depend on every single day and we certainly depend on at this time with this pandemic. good news is that our farmers and ranchers, our ag sector are out there working every day carrying on this critical work of ensuring that we have the food on our grocery shelves throughout this pandemic. the bad news is that the farm economy already facing a number of years of declining income has taken a further nose-dive on account of the coronavirus. so we have put forward assistance to make sure that we address that. let me just give you one example, though, of the difficulty faced in farm country, in rural america. they have lost -- over the last two months. that's just one sector of our ag economy. congress needs to act and we
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need to act now to ensure that farmers, ranchers, and rural america, farmers, ranchers, and rural america receive the relief they desperately need. why would democrats object to that? why would they object to that? we included two important provisions to ensure that rural america and our farm and ranch families receive assistance. first we replenish the commodity credit corporation making sure that the c.c.c. has the funding in es to carry out the farm bill, including the farm safety net, conservation programs, trade programs as well as emergency and ad hoc programs like the market facilitation program. second, we increase authority to ensure that we can meet the coronavirus impact on agriculture headion. that make -- head-on. that makes sense. that's in the bill. they're objecting to it. they're objecting to it. this is our food supply. this is our food chain.
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we also included an important provision that enables usda to provide critical support to ranchers during this market downturn, to ranchers. however, the senate democrats are objecting to that provision. congressional democrat leadership has objected to helping our farmers and ranchers in this relief package. the bill also includes an additional $15.5 billion for the snap program, for the supplemental nutrition assistance program, for food stamps to provide nutrition assistance for those affected by this economic downturn. i urge my colleagues to get on board and support our farmers, our ranchers, and our food supply. support rural america. quit objecting to rural america. quit objecting to our warmers and ranch -- to our farmers and ranchers. we can't let that happen. we've talked about the importance of the bill. it's mor important for our entie country, and it is certainly
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important for our farmers and for our ranchers and for the food supply, the lowest cost, highest quality food supply that they provide every single american every single day. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority has five minutes. the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: thank you, mr. president. you know, -- do you know what the american people are thinking right now? they're thinking that the brain is an amazing organ. it starts working in a mother's womb, and it doesn't stop working until you get elected to congress. do you know what the american people are thinking right now, mr. president? they're thinking that this country was founded by geniuses.
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but it's being run by a bunch of idiots. do you know what the american people are thinking right now, mr. president? they're thinking why do the members of the united states senate continue to double down on stupid? now, this is not a republican bill, mr. chairman. this is a bipartisan bill. we have spent hours and hours and hours negotiating these provisions with our democratic friends. this is not a slush fund. this is a bill to help people and businesses in america. this bill is going to increase unemployment insurance. this bill is going to send
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$1,200 to every man and woman in america, taxpayers who make less than $75,000 a year and $500 for each of their children. this bill is going to help every small business in this country. it's not a bailout. it provides up to $350 billion for small businesses for the next eight weeks to keep going, and if they don't lay anybody off, the bill -- the loans are forgivable. now, we have some businesses in this country that are bigger than 500 employees. this bill has a provision to help them, too, as well. in the america i was raised in, in growing your business and
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becoming as large as possible was something we aspired to. this bill does not create a slush fund for the treasury secretary. it provides $75 billion to help some of our industry's -- industries hardest hit, in a collateralized loan, not a bailout, and then provides another $425 billion to the federal reserve. under section 13-3 of the federal reserve act, which the federal reserve will make available to all businesses, including those that don't qualify as a small business. and we can -- and it's not a gift. we can negotiate warrants. we can negotiate stock options. we can take a piece of their -- of their company in stock.
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mr. president, i don't understand it. i get politics. i have been around it my whole life. but there comes a time when we have to stop thinking about the next election and start thinking about the next generation. what are we going to leave to our children if we allow this economy to crash? and it is happening as we speak. i mean no ill will toward my democratic friends. i like and respect every one of them. but let's pass this bill. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: is there objection? objection having been noted by the senator from connecticut. less than ten minutes remaining.
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consent is required. the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. you can't keep on saying it is a bipartisan bill when clearly it is not. if it was a bipartisan bill, you wouldn't have this level of angst from democrats who were shut out of the process. let's be clear about what we're talking about here. we don't think your bill works. we don't think the bill that has been drafted by the majority party is going to fix the problem. this is a policy disagreement. i have an obligation as a representative of my state to stand up and say when i don't think a $2 trillion bill is going to fix the problem. it may make a lot of people rich, but it doesn't have the resources in it today to take care of the most vulnerable in this country, and it's not going to do the primary job at hand, which is to stop the virus. remember, there is no amount of economic stimulus that we can pass, $1 trillion, $2 trillion, $3 trillion, that will solve this problem if we don't get serious about the public health
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crisis that exists today. and when you shortchange states, when you don't provide enough money to help my state and my municipalities manage testing, move congregate populations apart from each other, try to manage the crisis, then you aren't serious about stopping the virus. and so yes, one of the outstanding issues in this bill is that we think we need more funding for the states and municipalities that are on the front lines of fighting the virus. and yes, we don't think this bill will work, will work at job number one, which is stopping the public health crisis unless we provide ample funding. and yes, we are worried about the lack of conditionality on funding to big businesses, to wall street. yes, we are worried about the fact that this is going to make rich people much richer and at the same time not actually stopping the public health crisis. these are policy differences. and instead of coming down here and having show vote after show
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vote, we should be sitting together and trying to resolve differences that frankly i don't think are so large that they can't be solved within the next several hours. and so i just hope that we understand that we are down here very frustrated because we worry that we are about to vote on a bill that is not going to solve the problem. that is a policy disagreement, but a policy disagreement that could be resolved. mr. durbin: how much time is remaining on our side? the presiding officer: five and a half minutes. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: thank you, mr. president. during the past couple weeks, i have been talking to montanans about their needs as we deal with this coronavirus. health care officials tell me that folks on the front lines, that they need more masks, more protective equipment, and quite frankly this bill does not get that done. it helps, but it doesn't get it done.
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small businesses and their employers are telling me that they need immediate access to relief. this bill doesn't do that. quite frankly, we need more on the front end on bridge loans. tax credits are great, but you have got to be in business to be able to take advantage of those. mayors and local cities, officials are worried about that they can't keep up with the mounting needs that their communities are facing. this bill fails them. tribal leaders across montana have made it clear to me and to other folks in this body that they are largely and unfortunately ignored in the bill before us. this bill is nearly $2 trillion. one of the things it does do -- and i know there are folks on the floor right now that disagree, but the fact is massive corporations through that $500 billion slush fund that i might add has very
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little, if any, transparency or accountability goes to those folks. look. i think all of us agree that $2 trillion is a lot of money. it's all borrowed money. if there is ever a time to borrow money, it's in economic times like this. but this needs to be targeted, temporary support to keep our economy going. as the senator from connecticut said, the fact is that this bill, particularly this slush fund, is not a good use of taxpayer money. it would allow an unelected official with no accountability to the american people to dole out $500 billion while hiding the receipts for months if not longer. and i know there are senators who say well, they can get warrants for these loans. they must get warrants for these loans. as written, these companies could take advantage of billions
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of dollars of taxpayer money and continue to lay off some of those same taxpayers that they are supporting with their taxes. look, montanans can do better and we expect better. working together, i'm going to tell you we can get this done. there isn't a person in this body that hasn't filled a leadership position outside of their service to the united states senate. you guys all know that you need to negotiate and you need to compromise. if that's done and it's done in good faith, we will have a bill before the day is done. i yield the floor. mr. daines: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. daines: i could give you a very long list of things we are doing to help people in this
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country. let me say this. this bill is written by both republicans and democrats in good faith. it's time to get over our differences. put our country before ourselves. let's come together and vote this bill out of the senate now. mr. durbin: how much time remains on our side? the presiding officer: two minutes, 20 seconds. the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. let me just say at the outset, strike a responsible distance and take a deep breath. we're going to pass this bill. not the one that senator mcconnell brought before us yesterday, but a version of that that i think is a dramatic improvement. my prayer is that that bill is going to include even more money than the mcconnell bill when it comes to dealing with the health care crisis we face and the challenge we face. more money for hospitals, more money for providers, more money for equipment, and we're going to have to come back again, i'm sorry to say, if this continues to make sure that we put even
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greater investment in the men and women who will save our lives across this country. secondly, we want to make certain that this mcconnell bill is improved when it comes to accountability for the taxpayers' dollars given to the largest corporations in america. some of us feel burned by what's happened with some of those corporations in the past when we trusted their leadership to build their companies and help their employees and instead they built their own bank accounts at the expense of their employees. we don't want to return to those days. i'm sure the republicans don't either. we want language in this bill that moves us in the direction of accountability and transparency when it comes to spending taxpayers' dollars by major corporations. and third, never overlook the need of state and local governments. they have been waiting, begging, pleading with the administration and the white house to give national leadership, and absent that, they have taken up the responsibility themselves. they're asking us to stand behind them as they make these difficult decisions state by state by state because the white
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house refuses to make these same decisions. we need to provide them the resources to do that. state and local governments need that help, and i believe the mcconnell bill could be improved by providing more resources in that regard. there are so many bipartisan things that we do agree on in this bill. let's get these things right. as senator murphy from connecticut said, if we don't get it right in terms of dealing with the coronavirus, we can't put enough money on the table for economic recovery. let's do it. i'm sorry that we're going to miss roll call. it is not an indication of the progress that i believe has been made since yesterday in negotiating a bipartisan approach to improving the mcconnell bill. i think that's under way at this moment, and i think we ought to recognize that. thank you. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 157, h.r. 748, an act to
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amend the internal revenue code of 1986, to repeal the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage, signed by 16 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to h.r. 748, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage shall be brought to a close upon reconsideration. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the order. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: on this vote, the yeas are 49, the nays are 46. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative upon reconsideration, the motion is not agreed to. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to h.r. 748, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 157, h.r. 748,
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an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986, to repeal the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage. mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: just for the information of all of our colleagues on both sides. the presiding officer: could we have order, please. senators will suspend their personal conversations, move them off the floor. the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: for the information of our colleagues on both sides, as a result of this procedural obstruction, let me explain where we are. by refusal to allow to take this first step, which would have still given them plenty of time to negotiate, we have put the senate in the following position. if any one of the 100 of us choose to object, we can't deal with this until friday or saturday at the earliest. if any one of the 100 of us objects to some of the procedural hurdles, we have to
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overcome as a result of this mindless obstruction, absolutely mindless obstruction going on on the other side while the public is waiting for us to act, while people are losing their jobs, losing their income, and shutting down the economy, which we have had to do to deal with this public health crisis, they are fiddling around with senate procedure that could, if one senator objected, take us all the way to the end of the week to solve this problem. i'm beginning to think our democratic colleagues don't understand the procedures of the senate. i'm not sure you understand the position your leader has put you in. he loses nothing. nothing in terms of negotiating leverage by letting us get through these procedural hoops sooner rather than later. sooner rather than later. the american people have had
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enough of this nonsense. they wonder where we are. they look at us to solve this problem. the secretary of the treasury keeps going into the democratic leader's office. the list keeps getting longer and longer and longer. the bazaar is apparently open on the other side. never let a crisis go to waste, one former president's chief of staff famously said. so look, i hope my colleagues will come out here and express themselves in the course of the afternoon. the american people would like to hear from us. they would like to know what's going on here. let's tell them. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are.
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quorum call:
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the presidingthe senator from o. a senator: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. lankford: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. officer without objection. mr. lankford: we're in an odd spot. millions of people are gathered in their own homes trying to figure out what's happening next, waiting for a virus to be able to die down. we have people in the hospital that are afraid becauseness no tested treatment -- because there is no tested treatment yet. the presiding officer: order on the floor, please. senators will move their private everything cans off of the floor. the senator from oklahoma. mr. lankford: we have firefighters, we have law enforcement, we have hospital workers, all with not enough personal protection equipment, because they don't know who is a citizen without the virus and who is a citizen with the virus. the most basic decisions have become a distraction across the country as americans have become afraid of a stranger and of a
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friend. this is a huge shift in where we are as a country. and what this demands is immediate action. three weeks ago this senate and the house passed $8.3 billion, and we did it with overwhelming bipartisan support to be able to add additional funding for diagnostics, for testing and for rapid work on a vaccine. all of that work is advancing quickly. we have human trials in a vaccine happening right now. weight came together and there weren't extra things added to it we focus in on the virus. there's no question there's lots of moments to be able to debate the things we disagree on. but this is a moment we understand to focus in on what is the problem. the problem is zealing with covid-19. there was a bipartisan bill put together in the senate. a week ago today, senator schumer release add ten-page list of here are the things that
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the democrats would like from the senate, a ten-page, very detailed list. 28 of those items on that list are included in this bipartisan bill. 28 items from it. of that ten-page list of items. so much of that list that was release add week ago are included in that bipartisan bill. the republican chairman and democratic ranking members of the committees of jurisdiction met and talked about this. the chairman and the ranking member of appropriations worked together on an appropriations package for a quarter of a trillion dollars on just that one section that they worked on together to get resolution. put all those items together -- and let me tell you what i mean by that. $250 billion dealing with things as distant to believe as things like getting peace corps volunteers back home, away from where they are now. we've got to get them back home and arizona way from -- and away from harm's way.
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there's money for hospitals trying to help them through this. help forenursing homes, help for individual firefighters and departments, $10 billion for community development block grants to be able to help cities as they're rapidly trying to be able to work through this process. $250 billion allocated just to things like that to be able to help people get testing, personal equipment, travel that they've got to do, additional expenses, teleworking capabilities that have to be done for city and federal entities. all of those things were put together and agreed on. there is a lot of work on the medical side, rightfully so. testing makes a world of difference. getting access to vaccine. there's billions of dollars in that area. all of that is included in this proposal. in addition to that, there's direct payments that we had agreed upon to be able to send out literally to every american. we set for $1,200 for every american to be able to receive. that is a stopgap method to be able to help folks having trouble with their utilities or whatever it may be or extra
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expenses so they'll have something. but it wasn't just that is for the individuals. it was also unemployment insurance, and this is something that the republicans and democrats had worked on together to do a plus-up of unemployment insurance because we have millions of people suddenly unemployed with no advance warning at all. so there's a significant increase in unemployment insurance that's built into this. about $250 billion of additional put into that amount. small business, the goal is not to have people on unemployment. the goal is to have people employed. a very creative thing was built in this that i happened to be part of in the design. that was, small businesses, a business with 500 or fewer employees, could actual ply for a rapid loan -- apply for a rapid loan. that loan would be given to them quickly and they could use that loan, if they used it for payroll, would be forgiven entirely. if they used it for their lease, it would be forgiven entirely. the goal was to not have small
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business go out of business and keep employees currently correct connected to their employees. not to put them on unemployment, but to keep them employed they self the same system. once we get through this view, they still have the same job. they're not on unemployment and then later looking for a job. they're able to keep their same job. we thought that was very significant. and it is a brand-new strategy for how to be able to do this. a much better idea than just pushing people on unemployment, though we do have great aid for unemployment. that program is $350 billion. health care, hospital, first responders, that's the first piece of this. working on testing, vaccines. the second piece -- direct payments to individuals, direct payments for unemployment insurance, then assistance for small businesses to stay in business and to help their employees stay connected to their business. and then on torture of -- and then on top of that, loans for the largest businesses of america. not a bailout. my democratic colleagues keep
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saying over and over again this is a bailout for the biggest companies. it is loans for the large of the companies, because you know what? they employ a lot of people. and we would like those businesses to also stay in business. all of that seemed to be going on well a understand negotiating well -- and negotiating well until the last 36 hours. it slid blows up. here's what i heard first. it is not enough. it is $2 trillion. it's $2 trillion. and it's suddenly, well, it's not enough. we need to plus this up to be even bigger. suddenly it's become this whole transition into the most random of things. well, if a corporation gets a loan from the federal government, then someone here in washington, d.c., should be able to determine how that cooperation is run. we should be able to have a member on their board or a union representative on their board. we should be able to have some kind of stake in their board to be able to do that. we should be able -- this was my
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favorite one. we should be able to tell the people if they're considering layoffs, someone here in d.c. should be able to go to the company, evaluate the rest of the their portfolio, and tell them other ways they can do their business besides laying people off. are you kidding me? we're now going to create a whole new federal bureaucracy that goes to every company if they take out any loan in this program and to be able to tell them how to manage the day-to-day operations of their company? there was a requirement that every company had to do a $15 minimum wage from their company. there is a requirement they couldn't do stock buybacks, and i have no problem with prohibiting the use of these loan dollars to use for stock buybacks. but that's not the concept. the concept was for the next ten years you can't ever do stock buybacks on anything regardless if it's with these loan funds. it became this bizarre shift into, oh, we have an opportunity to run every company in america
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and tell them how to be able to operate and that became the goal. then it became, we need to also add solar grants. the latest proposal that just came out today was $600 million for the national endowment for the arts and the national endowment for humanity. $600 million. not connected to anything covid. it was just they need a plus-up of an additional $600 million. for the nationallen document for the arts, national endowment 403(b) the humanities. the other one was that we need to have a forgiveness of all debt for the post office ever, all post office debt. that was just released today. the list is going on and on and on. my frustration is, i have people at home that are suffering that are small businesses teetering on the edge about to go out of business trying to figure out if there's going to be a proposal to come out of that senate while folks are discussing whether we need to do more solar grants and
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if we're going to take over corporate boards and require a $15 minimum wage at the end of this. can we just deal with covid-19? could we just deal with one thing, with covid-19? and to say, let's help businesses and workers and families that are struggling. that's what i thought we were trying to do with this bill. but now suddenly it seems to be everything but. let's just do that. and then there's lots of time to be able to argue about the other issues. we can do those in the future. we'll have the debate on solar panels, i promise. but let's deal with covid-19 and the families and individuals that are struggling and stop holding everything up trying to add one more thing in to say, it's a really big bill. i'm going to try to get my one piece. one thing that we worked on in a bipartisan way, senator coons and i, was working on this one
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area about not-for-profits. they are part of the our social safety net. our communities are put together by our families and the people that walk alongside our families are local nonprofits, and when those can't meet the needs, then government steps in to meet the needs. our nonprofits are teetering on the edge right now. this bill allows the nonprofits to be a part of this whole focus on small businesses being able to get a loan and sustain their personnel. it also allows individuals that want to donate to local nonprofits to be able to write that off as an incentive for folks to be more engaged on that. that's a reasonable proposal on how to be able to help. this is a bipartisan solution that senator coons and i have, but we can't get the to it and vote on it because we're trying to be held up by some bizarre new thing that's thrown in every couple of hours. that are unrelated to covid-19
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or the perpetual statement of, it's only $2 trillion. it's not enough. this government is not even set up to be able to distribute $2 trillion. let's get this out the door. let's get something started, and let's keep the battle going for the other things. but for the sake of our nonprofits, for sake of our small businesses, for the sake of people that want to stay employed, the people that are small business and restaurant owners and restale store owners, why don't we get this vote on and stop delaying it, trying to add one more special interest something into it. i move that we get going and get this done p. i'd encourage my colleagues on the other side to stop trying to renegotiate everything we've already negotiated and to stop adding one more thing. let's make the one more thing a
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vote. with that, i'd yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: thank you, mr. president. the -- earlier i was on the floor and talked about how important it was along with my fellow colleagues, how important it is that we move this bill and that we get it done now. i mean, it's very important that we get it done now. and we talked about a lot of different things. one of the points i warranted to make because i work with it so much as do some of my colleagues who are going to join me here, and that's making sure we're also addressing rural america. h., our farmers, our ranchers. that's the food supply that everyone depends on every single day. it is critically important all the time but particularly at a time like this when we are faced with a pandemic that we keep that food supply working and moving, the whole food explain from the farmer and rancher all the way up to the consumer. and as a result of what our
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farmers and ranchers do, every single american benefits from the lowest-cost, highest-quality food supply in the history of the world and they can count on it. they can count on it. so as we pass this phase three bill, which is now, i think, about $1.8 trillion, we cannot leave the farmers and ranchers of america out of the bill. it's that simple. because every single american depends on them every single day, and not just americans, but people around the globe. so it's so important that we include agriculture in this bill. and that's what we have worked to do. we've worked to make sure there is provision in there, so whether it is our cattle producers or whether it is our farmers raising crops across this great nation, that they can continue to do what they do every day on behalf of all americans. and so i talked about that a little bitter earlier. but some of my colleagues want to join in emphasizing how
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critically important that our farmers and ranchers and rural america is part of this legislation. you know, you see on television the cities every day and what's going on in the cities. in new york or san francisco or wherever it may be. we get it. there's a lot of peop÷ -- a lot of people there and they're close together and it's a huge challenge. but the food, the u.s.s. nantz, the -- the sustenance, the food, fuel, and fiber, it comes from rural areas. it doesn't just come from the grocery stores. it comes from rural america. we've got to keep them going so they can supply people across this nation and communities, large and small. i'd like to turn to my good friend from the state of kansas and ask that -- clearly a state known as part of the breadbasket of this nation and ask that the good senator from kansas be allowed to make some comments.
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mr. moran: mr. president, thank you very much. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: thank you, mr. president. i appreciate the leadership of my colleagues and particularly senator hoeven on his efforts. he chairs the subcommittee on appropriations on agriculture and rural development. we're joined by senator fischer and my colleague from kansas, the chairman of the committee, to highlight something that is potentially going to be absent from this legislation. i earlier this month i asked secretary perdue that i was joined with by many of my colleagues, both democrats and republicans, to look for a way to be helpful particularly to livestock producers, the men and women who raise cattle, who feed cattle, who are the backbone of the ag economy are certainly a huge and critical component of how we earn a living in kansas. both republicans and democrats signed the letter asking that
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secretary perdue take steps. the reason this is necessary, at least according to kansas state university research since the arrival of corona since january 8 to -- $8 billion to $9 billion in lost income has occurred for livestock producers in this country. that is a huge and significant amount of money and one that is hard to recover from. so the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee, senator hoeven, indicated about the importance of rural america. this is absolutely about feeding not only the rest of our country but the globe in its entirety. and i would highlight before i return to this conversation about agriculture, i would highlight how difficult it is in rural america to recover from an economic challenge. certainly our cattlemen and our livestock producers, our farmers and ranchers recognize we've seen instance and instance in which farmers are going out of business. i would put on top of that since
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2013 on the farm income in kansas is down 50% since 2013. you add this crisis to the challenge and many of my farmers and ranchers may not, probably will not survive this crisis. so we're asking the secretary of agriculture to come to our aid. what we discovered is the commodity credit corps, -- corps, the c.c.c., had to be replenished. money had been spent from the c.c.c. we proposed in this bill that is being debated now that the c.c.c. be replenished. $20 billion restored to the commodity credit corporation. we were told by our democratic colleagues that they wanted to make certain the money couldn't just be spent on the livestock side and so the provision in this bill, bipartisan agreement, certainly agreement on the side of all of us that we care about farmers as well as ranchers. and so we changed the language
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to make certain that secretary of agriculture used c.c.c. funds not only for livestock producers but also for the cultivation, the crop side of agriculture. incidentally, my colleagues on the democrat side asked that their names be removed from the letter. i don't understand what happened in a matter of just a day or two in which they decided they were not interested in agriculture producers, livestock producers in particular. and then within the last couple of days we now learn that the democrats -- i'm not in the room soy can't verify this but i'm told by those who presumably know that democrats are opposed to this provision being included in the bill at all. we cannot forget livestock producers and agriculture as we try to deal with the economic consequences of covid-19. it is a huge challenge. so i would ask my democrat colleagues, those who signed the letters and others who visited with me and my colleagues about
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trying to solve this problem, i don't know what's going on in the rooms that i'm not a part of, but we need to make certain that the end result is where we started, taking care of those who produce the food and fiber of our nation. while i have the floor, let me point out the challenges of rural america just a couple of steps further and why it's so important to get this done today, now. community hospitals. significant resources in this bill to try to keep the doors of our hospitals, to keep our physicians practicing medicine, to keep the pharmacy on main street are involved in this bill. the number of -- the dentist. a dentist is a pretty important person in a small town in kansas. the optometrist, a huge component of how we deliver health care. very small businesses. many of them are solo practitioners and they employ just a handful ever people. this bill will help -- of people. this bill will help them and yet it is now stymied.
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i would say even if you're not a health care provider, this bill is important to every small business in kansas, and it's important to the business not for the business sake but for the people who work for that business. we want that sole proprietor but we want that business that employs ten, five, 50 people. a lot of small manufacturers in kansas that produce agriculture equipment. they are on the cusp of being put out of business and what is so dramatic in rural america is if we lose a business, the chances of reviving it in the future disappears. almost all of our businesses in small towns across kansas and around the nation are hanging on already by a thread. this is the factor now that may put them out of business, likely to put them out of business, and the chances of them then coming back into business when this is over virtually none. our businesses are run by small
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families, by families, by individuals, by people who often run a business for the sole purpose of making certain their community has a business. we can linger no longer and expect that it will get better if we don't take action to help them preserve their business and the people who work for them and we do it now, not later. mr. president, i yield to the senator from nebraska -- the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven. thank you, i would like to thank the senator from kansas and his remarks and his strong work on behalf of not just the livestock industry and kansas obviously a huge rule but for agriculture. you're always there and i'm deeply appreciative. before i recognize our next colleague, i do want to make a little change in the order here, mr. president, if i could. i'd like to recognize our
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colleague from michigan who is the ranking member on the ag committee. mr. hoeven: she had some thoughts she wanted to interject and i would be willing to defer to her at this point. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: i just wanted to share some thoughts. i appreciate the discussion. obviously as you know, senator roberts and i have basically coauthored the last two farm bills and we all care deeply about rural america. i grew up in rural america and we've got to get things down that will help small towns in rural america. the distinguished senator from north dakota and i have been talking about what we need to be doing in a number of ways. i just wanted to indicate that when we talk about the needs that have been addressed through the market facilitation, payments and so on, that i think we have a joint interest in making sure all of agriculture that has been hurt will be benefited by this. i understand the concerns about livestock, about half the cash
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receipts of the country are what we broadly call specialty crops. i can tell you as the number one producer of tart cherries in the country, maybe the world, we have been hit so very hard by unfair practices with turkey that we could lose the industry. and we've received no help so far from the c.c.c. and so if we're going to move forward, i have supported and will continue to support doing things we need to do for farmers, but we have to recognize all of the needs. and i'm certainly willing to work with you on that because that has to happen. i would finally say this. on the one end we have our farmers. on the other end we have all of us who eat. we've got a lot of folks in between that think the food comes from the grocery store. a lot of kids. one of the reasons i support having school gardens is for children to understand this -- that -- that it's actually a lot of hard work and food comes from
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our farmers. but part of all of this when we look at this large package, and i know there's a concern about not leaving farmers out, we can't leave people who are at this point struggling to eat out as well. and so having a snap increase we've done in every other crisis, every other crisis we've had a temporary increase in snap funds. we desperately need to do that as well. we know that one of the best economic stimuluses is to provide people with food assistance who immediately have to spend it in the grocery store and our grocery store owners large and small are challenged and are going to be challenged. and this all goes right back to the farmers. i thank you for yielding some time. i just want to say that there are many of us on both sides of the aisle care deeply certainly about agriculture. we have the largest vote, 87 out of a hundred, mr. chairman, who
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voted for the last farm bill. i think almost -- maybe every democrat did. we want to make sure we're supporting our farmers. we want to make sure that families are lifted up who are struggling. i'm getting the calls from churches and food banks and everyone who are desperately concerned about families right now. we can't leave our families behind either. so thank you very much. mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank -- the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank the senator from michigan. no question she's been a strong advocate for agriculture. appreciate that. appreciate willing to work on this. it is imperative we include our farmers and ranchers in this legislation. i look forward to continuing to work with you. we do need to get to something that we can approve and include in the package. so thank you and thank you for your comments. and i would turn to my colleague from nebraska. again, by way of turning to her, the cattle industry has lost between $7 billion and $9 billion over the last two months.
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the cattle industry. i know, mr. president, the cattle industry is important in your state. over the last two months has lost between $7 billion and $9 billion. that's too much. and so that's why this is very urgent. we need to act. i would turn to the senator from nebraska for her comments. mrs. fischer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: thank you, mr. president. i would like to thank my colleague from north dakota for really being a leader in recognizing the needs that we have across rural america. the needs that we are facing in the heartland for farmers, ranchers, rural communities, rural hospitals. when we're looking at this pandemic and the effects it has all across this country, we need to be cognizant of the fact that we are a very diverse nation. we are a nation of condensed urban areas and we are a nation
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with extreme vastness. i happen to live in a county which is in the middle of cattle country here in the united states where we have less than one person per square mile. and there's over 6,000 square miles in my county. we understand what being rural means. we understand the differences that exist not just within the state of nebraska but exist here in this country. and we believe that that diversity needs to be recognized when we are talking about providing relief to families, relief to small businesses, and recovery. but first we have to get to the relief. we can't get on this bill right now which what i hear from my constituents -- and i know all of you. it doesn't matter whether you're
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a republican or democrat. i know all of you are hearing from your constituents how really ridiculous we look because we can't get on a bill for political reasons. i hope that as we move forward, we are able to provide relief to families. people are in need. people are hurting. people are scared. and we are here talking which is a good thing if we come to a positive outcome. but we don't have much time. we have small businesses across this country that are hurting. i've heard from my dentist. i've heard from my neighbors who are very concerned about what's going on. and if they're even going to be able to provide for their employees, their families, and
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have a business to come back to. but when you talk about livestock, i think nebraskans have a good understanding of that. because livestock is the economic engine in the state of nebraska. it's the biggest revenue provider in agriculture in the state of nebraska. it is a part of that ag economy that drives our state's economy. and that's why working on provisions that are going to help producers helps every single person in my state. we reached out in my office to a number of my friends and my neighbors who are family ranchers, family farmers, and
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asked them, you know, what's going on. the senator from -- from north dakota talked about the losses, extreme losses that we're looking at. and when i -- when i'm talking about farmers and ranchers, i'm talking about family farmers and family ranchers and how people are looking at their families, they're looking at their neighbors, they're looking at their communities. this coronavirus is adding another dimension to a -- to an already battered agriculture economy, and this disease has been driving down crop and livestock prices, and therefore i am adamant that in this bill, we have to provide relief to
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address that. and my colleague from north dakota, to be able to lead on this and come up with a solution that will help families, neighborhoods, communities and my state, i thank him. we have seen ag futures that have been dropping since february. prices that have been offered for ranchers' cattle have been dropping. ethanol plants, they are starting to idle, they are starting to close down across the country. and there is a lot of unsold grain that is sitting out in the countryside or it's in farm storage right now. in cattle, i can speak to this. we have seen large volumes of negotiated cattle being dk being procured at lower prices. we have seen sharply rising box
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beef market, both in volume and in price. as of last thursday, mr. president, cattle volume at live auctions declined by 75%. that's due to folks who were practicing social distancing. and that in turn has caused a a $10 to $15 drop in market price. feeder cattle sales slowed down. if you drive around counties in my state where we see a lot of fed cattle, you will see empty pens. feeders are getting hit twice, and arguably the hardest. suppliers, which include ethanol plants, they are telling feeders that they have maybe one to two weeks max where they can provide feed to them. and then those family farms,
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they are going to be in trouble because those ethanol plants are going to idle, they are going to shut down, and that's going to cause feeders to worry about supply. the panic buying that we're seeing in the news, it can be correlated back to that high volume of beef that's being sold. we can see packers are selling large volumes of beef with outstanding consumer demand. you know, as a cattle rancher, you want to see that consumer demand. but not in these times when they are so uncertain. we have had packers communicate that they're going to continue to ramp up production. we are grateful for that, and it is needed to meet that high demand. beef sales are increasing. box beef prices are. and producers, mr. president,
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producers need to be able to share in the price gains of this unexpected surge in demand. in reality, the opposite has been happening. i have been working with my colleagues on measures that -- that's in the cares act to provide some relief to people in my state and across the heartland who are working to keep the world fed during this pandemic. a provision that we have in this current version of the bill, it will help provide relief to cow calf producers and feeders through a commodity credit corporation, the c.c.c. that we have talked about so we can have that increase, so that livestock, beef, pork, poultry can be included. and that can also assist other commodities. this provision is needed.
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these dollars are the vehicle that we can use to help our producers get the relief that they need during these tough times. you know, so many times i hear from my neighbors, you leave agriculture out all the time. you don't -- you don't think about rural america. well, we do. we always do. we have now to listen to colleagues on the other side put off a vote is appalling. people are suffering. people must be helped.
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we need to be here to provide relief and to have a plan of recovery. we have that. we worked in a bipartisan way to have it. agriculture must be a part of that. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank the senator from nebraska for her very powerful and heartfelt comments. i have to say she knows of what she speaks. coming from nebraska and being in agriculture, nobody sees it out there more directly and understands what our farmers and ranchers are going through than
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she does. so i really do appreciate her comments, and i think she brings home very clearly how we need to make sure that our farmers and ranchers are part of this important effort as we seek to battle this pandemic. so again, i can't thank her enough for her heartfelt comments. and i would like to turn now to our colleague from the state of mississippi for her comments. the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mrs. hyde-smith: thank you, mr. president. as we continue to navigate this unprecedented position we find ourselves in because of this extremely contagious virus, i want to bring one issue to the attention of all of my colleagues. you know, anyone who has been on social media has seen the empty shelves in the grocery stores throughout the country. the last shortage we need right
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now is within our american farmers. we are going to be able to feed this country, but only if we keep the farmers in business. with virtually every restaurant in this country being on shutdown now, we have never found ourselves here. they are not ordering the food that they normally order because they are on shutdown. to be here in this city of washington, d.c., and every restaurant closed except a few for takeout, that is one market our farmers have just lost in this position that we're in. we don't need to, we have to make sure our food production continues. you know, as a former ag commissioner in the wonderful state of mississippi, i can speak to this firsthand when
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this market is closed down. it doesn't move the mete -- the needle a little bit. it moves the needle a lot. the emergency supplemental appropriations portion, division b of the coronavirus phase three legislation, provides that critical support for american farmers and ranchers that are truly being impacted by this virus, an important provision which democrats seem to oppose is just a no-brainer for me. it's simply, one, it reimburses the usdac.c.c. that we referred to, the commodity credit corporation, to prevent any delays in program funding vital to u.s. agriculture. the second thing that it does is it temporarily raises the c.c.c.'s borrowing authority to ensure usda has the resources needed to assist producers
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during this covid-19 emergency. this is just basic economics. you know, people come to the floor and they talk about all these programs that we need to be increasing right now. democrats want billions for domestic food programs, but what happens when those supplying our food goes out of business? you know, this is a trillion-plus-dollar package, and as the senior senator from nebraska stated, we cannot leave our farmers and ranchers out, the backbone of rural america. i look at the democrats' bill, and they're calling it the workers first. there is nobody working any harder right now to feed this country, to feed those medical workers that are being pushed beyond restraints that they should never have to be pushed to, but they are willing to step up because they are the medical
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community that's willing to take care of these patients. every small business has employees that are going to have to be fed. we have to ensure that we continue to have the safest, cheapest, i might add, food supply of anywhere in the entire world. i appreciate the work of the agriculture appropriations subcommittee, chairman hoeven, and others for including this in this bill, this provision that is very vital, and it has to remain in there. so i just want to stress the importance of making sure the farmers and ranchers, including those wonderful farmers and ranchers in the state of mississippi and throughout this country, can continue to do what they were born to do, and that is to produce our ag products to make sure this country will continue to sustain itself. thank you very much,
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mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i want to thank the senator from mississippi who also understands agriculture and is a strong advocate of agriculture and recognize how critically important it is. and then i'd like to turn at this point to our chairman on the ag committee who -- you know, he is somebody who has been around agriculture for a long, long time. he's worked on many, many farm bills. he understands, whether it's livestock or crops or, you know, specialty crops, but across the board. and i say that for this reason. the provision that we have put in here helps all of that. it's designed for all of agriculture. certainly our -- it's absolutely vital for our cattle ranchers to help them working with usda, but for all these other crops, too,
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across this great country. there is incredible diversity in agriculture. but what we have tried to do here is make sure that we have something that enables our department of agriculture and this body to help all of our producers, and without this, we're not able to do that. that's why it's so vital that it's part of this package. and with that, i would like to turn to our ag chairman. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: thank you, mr. president. we're in a tough place. we really are. rural small town america, given the rural health care delivery system with regards to this virus, that has been aptly pointed out by senator hoeven, who by the way does an outstanding job as our protector on the all-powerful senate appropriations committee. i thank senator fischer who is
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in the business and always does a good job of telling the story of the beef producer, always trying to tell me that nebraska beef is more tender and more delicious than that of kansas, but that's your right. senator heitkamp and senator stabenow, would he in the ag committee say we are the least partisan committee in the congress. i think that was evident by the time we passed a farm bill. it took us a year to do it, a little over that. we got 87 votes. it was truly bipartisan. and i deeply regret that we have reached a point here in the senate where that is not the case with regards to the full senate. you talk to any agriculture commodity group, any farm organization or just up and down main street throughout kansas -- as a matter of fact, i talked to the chamber of commerce, senator moran who just gave some very
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pertinent comments to our situation out in kansas about the second question in. chairman pat, what about our rural areas? well, at that time we were having trouble with regards to the testing, and some rural hospitals were having to drive a great deal of miles to topeka. that was the only source. that stopped -- it hasn't stopped, gotten a heck of a lot better, with quest and lab corps and other folks who are now making these tests available. but i want to get back to agriculture and the senator from north dakota is exactly right. we've been hit pretty hard. 2.13 was the last time we had our prices above the cost of production. that involves everybody involved in agriculture, along with senator thune. and i am going to try to wind this down here pretty quick so we can get through. and i thank you for your help. and i thank you for your
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overview of what's in this bill, what isn't in this bill, and why on earth we can't get to it. so i think probably the best thing to do for our beef industry is to continue to work with our secretary of for secrey of agriculture -- secretary of agriculture, sonny perdue. if anybody is more knowledgeable about what we are facing, i don't know who it is. and i think possibly there could be a c.c.c. payment that could help us out in the beef industry, in particular, because that's really where we are in trouble. but you could go down every commodity and you'll see the same thing. and people from all of the organizations are coming forth, to all of us on the ag committee, and saying, why can't you help? i'm going to leave that subject -- i think we can work on that. i think we can get some more help from c.c.c., and that would be a direct payment that would be immediate that could be of help to people who are really in trouble. i want to say something else
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with regards to senator manchin. he was signature over here by -- he was sitting over here by his lonesome on the other side of the aisle. i really like this guy. we're good friends. we hit it off right from the first. both of us want the same thing. in particular, his comments this morning was about the rural health care delivery system in west virginia. going through the same tribulation that we are going through nationwide with regards to our rural areas. i wanted to point out, there's $75 billion in this bill for rural hospitals to pay doctors and nurses who are dealing with the virus. well, we all are doing that. it lifts the 2% sequester that happens all the time. you got to go back to 2013, and under the budget control act that was passed at that particular time and not enforced but at least was -- what's the
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word for it? -- i'm referring to president obama. he would always be under the budget control act -- no matter what we got from the c.m.s., the center for medicare services, which is lovingly called out in our rural areas, it's a mess, not under seem ma verma, though -- i think she is doing a good job. but every time we would convince them to raise the medicare access to critical hospitals, of which we have 80 in kansas, there was again that 2% cut. so we waived that cut since the first time in 2013. in addition, let me say that there is special funding called for by all of the community health care centers and rural health centers of which i know there are a lot in west
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virginia, as they well are in kansas. for electrical will he medicine. that was -- for telemedicine. there is a 15% reimbursement increase for folks using telemed sun. so it's not like we haven't put together something that we think will improve it. we could do morement we could do more, and the senator from west virginia has indicated his strong interest in doing that. my point is, we can do that if we would just vote to get on the bill. we'd have 30 hours and i no he that senator manchin and senator roberts working together, i think we could accomplish darn near everything. i see the senator rising. i am not quite through. yes, i would be happy to yield to my distinguished friend. mr. manchin: well, truly, we are friends. and as another person on -- and there is another person on the other side of the aisle that i consider my dear friend. that's used in a colloquial way, but i mean it.
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let me just say this. excuse me for announcing the small state there. but you don't have a problem here on this side with the 30-hour waiting. we seldom object on -- that's not where the problem is. everybody thinking we're going to make people stay here for 30 hours. ness into the person that i am spoken to that is going to stop it. what they want to do is in good faith get to the bill. once they say, can't we at least get on it and work on it, you usually don't work unless there is good faith in the beginning. right now there is very little good faith from the top of the food chamber. but i can assure you, as soon as there is an agreement, we are moving unless somebody on your job would object. there are no objections on this side. i would hope you would not use that 30 hours as obstruction. because it is now here. and i'll have a chance to speak about this more. i thank you because i know rural and your state rural and my
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state rural is the same. these people are out there depending on us. we have to get together here as americans. mr. roberts: i appreciate your comments. i guess it's okay to call you joe. i appreciate your friendship. you did mention something else about, there's no objection on your side. well, about two hours ago when we got this whirlwind, or this dustup going again, when our distinguished leader pointed out that we have a good bill and it is a bipartisan bill and now we're talking about the footprint that the airlines, the carbon footprint that we have to take a look at that and on the boards of these corporations that we want to investigate, are they truly diverse and, et cetera, et cetera. i said -- something about the green new deal. that's not pertinent to this particular situation, to say the
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least. then when you set up an objection, here's what i'm worried about. we had the democratic leader, who i have known from his house days -- we used to play basketball together, for goodness sake -- both of us very slow. what i was doing on the court at my i am an, i have no idea. but here we have the democratic leader. we have susan collins stood up to be recognized and there were throngs to her even talking -- and there were three objections to her even talking. that's going back to the zais we don't want to go back to. this is not the senate in a i came to 24 years ago or in the house 16 years ago or as a staff director for two before us i've. mr. bennet: around here for
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quite a while. these are not the worst of times. washington was on fire when we had the horrible assassination of m.l.k. then we went through watergate. then the vietnam war -- actually it was the vietnam war before watergate. that tore the country apart. here in the senate we were able to come together to reach bipartisan agreement. i'm telling you, this blanket of comity and respect is pretty thread baer right now. we're right there. for a lot of reasons, i could go back to the impeachment herings where one of the members looking right at me and said, you're on trial. and if you do not vote for this, it is treachery. i said, what? me? i mean, what was that all about? at that time, by the way, we could have taken first steps with regard to this virus. i know that the assistant -- or
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the deputy leader there on your side said everybody take a deep breath. we don't want to take a deep breath anywhere now. but i will tell you that i hoped we could come together on this and see if we can't reach some agreement. let's get on the bill. we got 30 hours to do it. the senator from west virginia said, if we could just come to an agreement -- i suppose you're meaning beyond those two doors -- we've been meeting along and along and al i would ask the senator, the distinguished senator who is sitting right down here about ready to get to a speech, how many works-off have we had? but each one of them worked with our democratic counterparts and they got -- i mean, they produce add bipartisan agreement. i really don't understand why we can't get to 30 -- to at least vote for cloture and then we
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have 30 hours to -- and maybe we could cut that 30 hours back. i would hope that's the case, if befinally come to an agreement. but some of the things that i have heard that you want to put in this bill, a, they don't fit, and, two, you know, they're counterproductive. leet me just say this. there's a lot of -- there's a saying out in dodge city, kansas. there's a lot of cactus in the world. you don't have to sit on every one of them. it appears to me that's what we're doing. i have a nice square saying that's an 8x10 next to my desk. it is a quote from lyndon baines johnson sometimes you just have to hunker down like a jass' a in a hailstorm and just take it. i'm tired of just taking it. i'm tired of the partisanship. i'm tired of all of this work
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that we have put together to address what everybody understands is a national pandemic, a world pandemic. and here we are messing around frying to say, oh, no, we can't vote for cloture and address some of these things with the five, now, working groups that have produced a product. that's wrong. that's really wrong. so i plead with my colleagues. i don't do this. i don't come down to the floor and make partisan speeches. you do that introduce an amendment. who have of your folks won't vote for it and the same thing the other way around. when they say senator roberts, i hope they remember that i'm chairman of the ag committee and i work very well with thest senator stabenow and we produce add great farm bill. i don't like doing this but i have to warn my colleagues, this so-called blanket of comity that we always have here in the senate, it's pretty threadbare.
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i hope we can vote to get to cloture and then get to a bill as soon as we can. thank you very much. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i want to thank the senior senator from kansas for his comments and for his long service on behalf of agriculture, and i want to thank all of my colleagues who've spoken here. you know, these are people, woulding every day on behalf of our farmers and ranchers, on the a appropriation committee. we've fashioned something here. our message is very simple. we need to make sure that our farmers and ranchers are included in this bill, and we need our colleagues across the aisle to work with us to make sure that's in the bill, and we need to get this bill passed now. and with that, i'd like to turn to our assistant majority leader, also from ag country, for concluding remarks. i appreciate the patience of our colleague from west virginia. mr. manchin: i thank my colleague from -- mr. thune: i thank my
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colleague from north dakota for his great leadership on this issue. and all of us here, senator roberts shall the longtime chairman of the senate ag committee, before that the house ag committee, very instrumental in us getting a farm bill in late 2018, which provides a safety net and provides a little bit of stability in agriculture, which as he pointed out has been in the tank since 2013ment. our producers, farmers and ranchers across the country and in south dakota have been operating with negative cash flows, eating into their equity, trying to keep their operations viable. that was before covid-19. now we got covid-19, and we saw the bottom fall out of the cattle market in this country. i don't have to tell you, mr. president, that ag is important. it is the lifeblood of our economy in north dakota. it is our number one economy. that ripple effect is felt all across the country. it is our food supply.
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senator hoeven talked about the importance of ensuring that we have maintained a safe, quality, predictable, and affordable food supply for people in this country, particularly when people are concerned in a time of crisis. we need to maintain that food supply. so i want to thank him and all of our colleagues here from farm country for working together to provide some assistance in this particular bill that would hopefully give some relief to those who are out there day in and day out, grinding it out to make sure we have the food and fiber to keep this country going forward and frankly for that matter to feed the world. but unfortunately again, senate democrats don't seem willing to do that i was encouraged to hear just a little bit ago -- of course my friend from west virginia who is an advocate for agriculture, we also had the ranking member of the ag committee down here earlier saying she's willing to work with us. but unfortunately we don't have time to waste. we just don't have time to waste. this isn't something that can be
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put off to another day. we have producers that if we don't do something, we're going to leave them behind and we need our democrat colleagues to step up and help get this bill passed. as senator hoeven mentioned, the bill would provide $30 billion to preplehnish the commodity credit corporation and has an increase an additional $20 billion, temporary increase in c.c.c. fund willing to address impacts from the outbreak of company individual. this fund -- from covid. this funding would allow the agriculture to get farmers and ranchers across the nation who are facing market volatility and declining pricing in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. farmers and ranchers as i might add who are already dealing with the weak ag economy well before this emergency hit. i spoke with the secretary of agriculture a couple of days ago. and conveyed to him just the incredible amount of hardship and economic pain that's being created across the farm belt these day, particularly with our
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cattle ranchers and the pain that they're feeling as a result of the declining prices and what it might mean to their operations. so i would simply say in supporting all of my colleagues and what they've said today, mr. president, is we don't know the full impact of this outbreak across agricultural industry but we do know n. our producers -- know this. our producers are doing their part to keep the grocery shelves stocked and food on our tables. and we need to do our part and provide the resources necessary to support them which is why it is so important for many of the reasons we've talked about earlier today to get on this legislation, get it moving. the national economy is melting down and of course as i said, the economy out in farm country was happening well before the national economy but if we don't do something to stop the bleeding and do it soon, there's going to be a whole world of hurt. let's get this bill across the finish line. we need help from our democrat
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colleagues to do that. i yield the time. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank all my colleagues and truly all my friends that are here expressing their concerns. think we're all on the same side. i think every one of you all and every one of -- everybody within the house and senate, we've got this disease in our states. we have them in our neighborhoods, in our backyards. this covid-19 doesn't know whether you're a democrat or republican or independent. and people are scared right now and we have states now that are sheltering in place. my state just announced at 12:00 or 1:00 today that they're going to shelter in place. and i somewhere a very vulnerable population i'm concerned about. i have a very vulnerable health care system i'm very much concerned about because if they're not able to provide the services that we're going to need and that we need now, then help us all. then good lord help us all because we will be in trouble then and we're going to protect them. that's whatter he -- that's what we're fighting for. i know -- why is the democrats
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stopping just to get on the bill? if we just got on the bill, everything would be fine. how many times do we understand how this process works. we usually have an agreement on a bill if we want to pass something. if not we'll have political posturing. that's what's going on. they know there's a difference. where can the pressure be put? you know, i've been here for ten years and i've never seen the place work at all so i appreciate those of you who can give me historical values of how it used to work. i wish it did. i always thought basically when there's good faith, whether i agreed or not, you should have a chance to amend a bill, to change a bill, to do something to it. we don't get that chance here. so if we start moving before we have an agreement that there is going to be a conciliatory movement towards something, then we can make it happen. so where we are right now, let me just tell you, the $500 billion in that bill, i don't know whether it's $1.3 trillion or $2 trillion br i know its -- trillion but i know it's moving
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up rapidly. $500 billion of it that we can basically kind of identify, this is where i've had some problems and what i understand. first of all, there's no strong language that prohibits the stock buybacks. i know they keep saying corporate bailouts. forget about the bailouts but you tell me if this is not pretty favorable slanted to one side. there's for strong language to prohibit stock buybacks. as written the buyback limitation can be waived by secretary mnuchin. secretary mnuchin can direct funds and loans to whom he sees as necessary with very, very little oversight. no restraints on taking assistance and firing employees at a later time as employers only have to keep employees to the extent possible which is in the language. these are the concerns. the bill allows a six-month delay on releasing the names of businesses. tell me why we would put a six-month delay on basically releasing the names of businesses that take advantage and get this type of opportunity? why shouldn't we be transparent?
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and there's only a two-year prohibition in increasing executive compensation. we've seen what happens when it runs amok. those are the concerns that we have. those are the concerns that i have had. now, with that, let's look at the things we agree on. we agree on that we should be protecting the health care industry. we've agreed on $100 billion. we were way off of that. finally by not agreeing to move on to the bill which was up to $75 billion. when we come out this afternoon, there will be $100 billion to take care of our hospitals, our rural, our basically all of our health care system so they can survive. making sure that all of our health care providers are protected. these are the things we're talking about and the things that we've asked for. so when they start saying just get on the bill. yeah, just get on the bill. then what happens? nothing else happens because then it's out of our jurisdiction, if you will because we have little chance to intervene. the rules are that basically the majority has the rule. they can rule.
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and that's exactly how it works. so we're trying to get a bill. there's no need for us to take a vote today. as we're still working. i know the secretary of the treasury is in there working. i know they're all sitting in there working on it. why did we have the vote when we knew we didn't have an agreement? but we're getting close to one. and if we get an agreement, i'll tell you every democrat will vote to suspend the rules and move. you will move immediately unless there's an objection from my friends on the republican side. that's what we're talking about. so please let's quit blaming each other. people depending in my state on us egg taking care of health care workers, taking care of basically people that have been laid off and don't have a paycheck now through no fault of their own. businesses have had to close. no fault of their own. those are the people on the front lines right now. i have people scared. shelter in place right now, an older population. so the things that we have agreed on -- i heard senator lankford from oklahoma that was speaking on the things that i agree 1,000% with him and why
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can't we be on that. if we can't get anything else done on the things we don't, let's vote today on the things we agree on. let's move and take care of the health care, covid-19, take care of the health care industry and all the workers, take care of the people who have lost their jobs and businesses. but we're worried about a $500 billion payout and with very little oversight and very little transparency. that's truly the problem in a nutshell. all we're asking for is basically shouldn't the people and shouldn't the taxpayers of this country understand where their money is going to and the people that are going to be able to use it, have some type of transparency and some oversight to it. that's all we've asked for and that's all i've asked for. about all these other things we're saying has been thrown in, i'm not for that. i am not for that. i think you all know that. i am not for the green new deal. i think you all know that i think there has to be an alternate energy policy approach. i think we all have to have common sense. we have to produce reliable,
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dependable energy and use everything we can, renewables, using your fossil fuels in the cleanest possible way. all these things we've talked about. who has thrown that stuff in i have no idea but i guarantee i wouldn't vote for it but what i will vote on is exactly what we should agree on and i think we agree on. let's come together as americans, forget democrat bs and republicans. get this place moving in. i was totally opposed when senator reid basically shut things down and we weren't able to have amendments. you all were too. we were promised whoever takes over as leadership, my goalie the system is going to open up and we'll have amendments on the floor. guess what? it didn't get better. it got worse f. you want to know why people basically are throwing everything but the kit en-- kitchen sink on a piece of legislation when they get a chance, because we have very little opportunity to do anything. there is too much power in two basically leaderships. this power should not be in this few of people. all of us should be involved.
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and i believe that you're going to see -- and i've said this. we all have that better angel inside of us. i hope you let her fly. i hope you let her fly today. she needs to get out and go a little bit right now. we need her. we need the better angels if all of us to start looking out and taking care of each other. there is a lot of people hurting and uncertain now. i want to make sure we fix it. i will stay here all day, all night to make sure we get it fixed. i ask all my good friends and i really mean it, my good friends, i ask you let's work together for the sake of this great country. thank you. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso. thank you. i just heard my friend and colleague from west virginia to say there's no reason to vote today. there is a lot of reason to vote today. it's a country affected by disease. people waking up anxious, scared, afraild of the disease -- afraid of the disease and the economic consequences that are there. there are a lot of reasons to vote today. and every member of this senate needs to stand up and be counted and for the senator from west
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virginia to say i wouldn't be for this, i don't know where that's coming from. well, just read the papers that are coming out of the democrat house. just read the papers of the demands by the democrats to muck up a bill that is designed as a rescue operation for the american people. that's where the problem is, mr. president. we need to vote today again and again and again until we provide the relief, the rescue that the american people need. that's why we have a dozen republicans on this side ready to speak, standing at podiums ready to speak and you don't right now have even a single democrat on the floor to defend their position because it is indefensible. that's where we are. we had nancy pelosi flying back from california because she sent the house home a week ago. they're not here. to defeat the work that we've done in a bipartisan way and to say oh, you've done nice work. now look at our list of -- a
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laundry list of things that we are demanding. task credits for solar panels, wind turbines, a bailout of the postal service. you can go through this list. portions of the green new deal. mr. president, i'm a doctor. i've been on the phone with doctors around the country, with my colleagues at the wyoming medical center. they were working double time, through the weekend. day and night. the nurses, the doctors, the health care providers. they need help. they're looking to us for help. they need tests. they need masks. they need respirators. they need hope, hope that there will be a vaccine. hope that there will be a treatment. those things are in this bill that the democrats voted to block last night and the democrats voted to block again today. and that's only the health care component of it. our economy cannot be unleashed
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again until after we get the health care component behind it. but our colleagues, our friends, our neighbors, people we know in our home states woke up today, woke up today not being able to go to work, not being able to know if they're going to have a paycheck, not being able to know if they're going to be able to pay their bills, not being able to know if they'll be able to feed their families or get food if it's available, if they can have the money to pay for it, and yet we're ready to provide relief. they need it immediately. they don't need it after the democrats block again and again and again. the senator from west virginia said i don't know why we voted today, that's why we voted today. that's why we need to keep voting. because the american people need relief and they need it now. this is our duty station and our prepare -- and we're prepared to stay here until we get this done. but to go through all of this --
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and i've talked to a spall business owner, -- small business owner, has a restaurant, been there for 37 years. she doesn't know how to make payroll. didn't close her door other than for snow storms in wyoming. successful restaurant, very good to the people that work there. she doesn't know how to pay for the food that was delivered the end of next week or pay the help. this bill takes care of so much of that. blocked by the democrats today. we have a good program for small businesses. it's really good. it was worked on in a bipartisan way. but yet it's being blocked by the democrats who blocked even the motion to proceed to the bill. businesses all across the country employ people regardless of the size. it's the people that need the jobs, the people that -- a job is part of somebody's identity. it's who -- it's -- people who work realize how important it is to who they are. they feel a sense of
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productivity. people i know aren't looking for a check. they just want a job. they're ready to work. they're ready to produce. and they can't. why? because a disease has struck america and the government, not the economy, the government has said we're going to shut down this economy and the government has a responsibility to provide relief, to rescue those people, to provide immediate relief. and every democrat came to the floor voting against doing that last night and again this morning. we need to continue to vote. this bill is about our health care system. it's about our economy. it's about money in people's pockets who through no fault of their own are finding themselves in a position they've never been in before ever. when they can't go out, knock on the door and say hire me, i'm ready to go to work. whether it's a farmer, rancher, anyone, they can't do that today because the government says you may not. you stay home. you might have a good job, a job you love. you can't go it today.
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monday, we want everyone to work on a monday. not in america on this monday. and so there's a role and responsibility of us to step in and do what the role of government ought to be in this case of crisis. the crisis caused by both a disease and the economy, the government's action to shut down the economy, and yet, democrats one after another continue to block it. and they're not blocking it for things that have to do with actually helping the american people. it is a wish list, a liberal wish list. it is astonishing they are delaying direct assistance so they can play to the liberal left. the extremists, the environmental extremists, the labor special interests. we're here trying to fight for the man and woman on the street in our hometowns, and yet they're fighting for the green
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new deal. bernie sanders may have lost to joe biden, but the green new deal of bernie sanders and elizabeth warren and that entire crew is alive and well in the democratic cloakroom and is controlling the actions today on the floor of the united states senate. they want to put up an entire cap-and-trade system for the airline industry. that's a worthy debate to have, but not on this bill. they want to expand tax credits for wind and for solar power. that's a debate that is worthy of being held, but not on this bill today. that's not going to help one person who's having problems breathing to get a respirator that they need. that's what's holding this up. we know, mr. president, that nancy pelosi has been pushing this extreme environmental agenda from the moment she cut the deal to remain as speaker and said to the liberals i will do what you want if you just allow me to be speaker again.
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and now, through a letter that she has written to the democrats, she is bragging that she is carrying the flag for the democrats' agenda. the speaker is pushing for diversity on corporate boards, for collective bargaining, for election reform. there are proposals here in her proposal -- she said i'm going to go write the bill -- requiring early voting, requiring same-day voter registration. where does that fit into a bill to rescue the american people who right now find themselves in the throes of a disease that may kill them and an economy that has been shut down? that's why the democrats aren't on this floor, because what they are doing cannot be defended. so i would just say -- and i would appeal to my colleagues, mr. president -- let us do the work of the senate. it is time for everyone to stand up and be responsible.
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let us get this done. let us get this passed. the days for political games are now behind us. everyone who's watching should understand the house of representatives is not in town. they have been gone for a week. only nancy pelosi just flew back from california to throw a monkey wrench into the works. and we need to get this done. we failed a cloture vote last night, blocked by the democrats, and at that time we found that one of our colleagues had tested positive for coronavirus. we failed a cloture vote today, blocked by the democrats again, when we learned that the spouse of one of our colleagues is hospitalized on oxygen under the same -- with the same disease that is hitting the entire country. we can litigate the green new
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deal another day. americans' lives and livelihood is at stake. that is the situation we are at today. as a nation. we could litigate election reform another day. we can divert -- we can debate diversity on corporate boards, airline fuel standards. we can do all of that another day. we can talk about cap and trade another day. america needs now to know how we as a nation will survive from the standpoint of our health and our economy. we need immediate relief. the bill on the floor accomplishes that. we need to make sure, mr. president, when americans wake up tomorrow, they don't have that same fear and trepidation about the disease as well as their family's well-being. we need to take that decisive action today. the time for politics is beyond
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us. we need to vote today, and we need to pass this today. thank you, mr. president. i know my colleagues are on the floor. i know senator portman is here after me, senator cotton after him. we have a dozen who are ready to speak, but i thank you for your indulgence, mr. president, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: my colleague from wyoming, i think he has made it very clear what's at stake here. we're in a crisis. our economy is in a freefall. people we represent, families, are suffering. the health care system is under tremendous stress. i spent the morning on the phone talking to ohioans and small business owners, people who are out of a job and worried, nervous. we all know somebody who has lost a job. we all know somebody who has tested positive for this virus. some of us, including me, know somebody who has died from the coronavirus. we need to pull together, as republicans, as democrats, as
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americans and address this crisis. i got to be listen this afternoon to colleagues of mine on the other side of the aisle talk about the legislation that's before us. and i've got to tell you, it was like they were talking about another bill. not the one that we actually are asking democrats to allow us to vote on. the one we're asking them to allow us to vote on is the product of a bipartisan process. the majority leader set up five different task forces. each task force is represented by republicans and democrats. i was in one of them. two republicans, two democrats. we sat down and we hammered out details. we took democrat ideas, and they are represented in the legislation. so this process that we've gone through, very different, by the way, than what happened in the house with regard to the first bill. we have had an $8.3 billion health care bill, also a phase two bill that provided free
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testing, help in terms of health care, paid leave. now we have this bill that's $1.8 trillion. $1.8 trillion. that's about as big as our entire domestic discretionary spending that we approve here every year. and yet, democrats are saying it's not enough money. so the most charitable way to describe what the democrats are asking for now -- although the senator did a good job of laying out some of the outrageous demands that have come up with nothing to do with the coronavirus. but the most charitable way to say it is they want more money. more money for states, more money for hospitals. guess what? there is $1.8 trillion in this bill, includes billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars for those purposes. if we find out in three weeks, in six weeks, in two months we need to do more, we will. but that's not an excuse for
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stopping the progress of this legislation now when it is so badly needed. world cup of the calls i got this morning was -- one of the calls i got this morning was from a small business owner. do you know what he said to me? the same thing all my colleagues are hearing. which is i'm watching, i'm waiting. i don't want to pull the trigger and let my employees go. i started this business. i started it from scratch. and now i have got to see the prospect of these people who i know and love losing their job. i'm waiting. i'm waiting to see what you do today. the country's waiting. the markets are waiting. people are hurting. they're suffering, but they're waiting to see if we can get our act together and actually come up with something that helps them. and do you know what? this legislation does exactly what all of us, i thought, wanted to do. three things. one, help keep people at work. we want people to stay with their employer, have a job, have their health care, have their retirement. two, help workers who through no fault of their own lose their
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job. this legislation does that and three, let's get this health care crisis under control. let's slow the spread of the coronavirus. all three of those things are precisely what's in this legislation. last night, i went through in detail and described every detail of how it addresses that and where the bipartisan ideas came from. i won't do that now because i see the majority leader on the floor and i want him to have an opportunity to speak, but i will tell you those three objectives are in this legislation. specifically laid out in this legislation. on the health care side, which is so important, we need more masks, we need more gowns, we need more ventilators, we need more respirators, more testing and a system to track that. that's in this legislation. there is money to do exactly that. we need some data, some metrics, measurements to know how we are doing and to be able to get out of this crisis. until we deal with the health care crisis, we will continue to
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have this failure of our economic system because we're letting people down right now. i would yield. mr. mcconnell: beyond everything the senator has accurately pointed out, they have put us in the following procedural position. by refusing to jump over some of these procedural steps along the way, it would not disadvantage their negotiating one bit. they have put us in a position where one senator out of 100, one, could keep us here until friday or saturday, and our constituents are saying act now, as the senator from ohio is pointing out. mindless procedural roadblocks in a time of national emergency. mr. portman: reclaiming my time, that is added to the absolutely inaccurate descriptions i have heard from the other side as to what's in this legislation.
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in other words, they are blocking us moving forward, creating the procedural hurdles that the majority leader just talked about, but also doing so by telling the american people, for instance, there is not enough in here for small businesses. my gosh, this is an unprecedented program for small businesses, something we have never done before, telling businesses if you're paying your employees to stay there, you not only get a loan, you get a grant. they say there is not enough in here to help people who are falling between the cracks. unprecedented unemployment insurance system that we are setting up here. by the way, if you look at the unemployment insurance side, look at it this way. what we are saying is we want to increase by eight times the cost of the national unemployment insurance system. that's how i look at it. it's an additional $600 per week per person. it's a broader employment system because we're going to bring in people who are self-employed, people who run the gig economy, something we should be doing as a matter of reform, perhaps, but
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in this case we have to do it. these people are hurting, too. this is unprecedented to provide people the ability who are low and moderate income americans to have wage replacement through unemployment insurance. that's never been done before. that's in this legislation. this is a rescue package. it's to help people weather the storm. it's to ensure that we have the ability to say to the people who are calling us and saying please help us, help is on the way. are we going to solve every problem in this one bill? no. although $1.8 trillion goes a long way toward solving the problem. but we'll be back here again. we'll be back here to ensure that we can fine tune this legislation. and if we need to react to other challenges, we have to do that because our constituents do it. this is a crisis. but in the meantime, let's pass this legislation. it does help small businesses keep people at work. it does protect those workers who lose their job through no fault of their own. it does take our health care
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system, which is under such tremendous stress and improve it in every respect to deal with this coronavirus, to slow the spread, ensuring that we can tell the american people not only are you going to be safer and healthier if this legislation passes, but guess what? you have a better chance of keeping your job and being able to take care of your family. with that, i yield to my colleague. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you very much, mr. president. mr. president, let me just make clear what happens over the course of the last couple of days because i have heard many of my colleagues come down to the floor today and claim that this is a bipartisan bill that's on the floor of the united states senate today, which would strike a lot of americans as curious because the votes are not bipartisan. so how could that be? how could it be a bipartisan process, as has been claimed by my republican colleagues, and yet there is not bipartisan agreement?
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well, let's start from the beginning. instead of deciding to write this legislation from the beginning with republicans and democrats in the room, the leader decided to write the bill initially, bringing together a consensus of republican senators, and then bringing democrats to the table. and there was a period of time, in which democrats were in the room and we were making progress. and that was a great 24 hours. then all of a sudden on saturday night, democrats were led out of the room and on sunday morning, lobbyists on "k" street sent a draft of legislation to chiefs of staff here that democrats had not had any part in writing. and so you can't call it a bipartisan piece of legislation if democrats weren't involved in the beginning and then they were led out of the room at the end. we appreciate having some input
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in the middle, but we clearly ended up with a product that doesn't have bipartisan buy-n and much of that is because of the process that led us in. the decision could have been made to include both parties at the table from the very beginning. because, guess what? we do have differences of opinion, we do have different ways of looking at this crisis. and our objections are policy objections. i mean be, spare me the righteous indignation about democrats trying to settle outside political scores in the context of this legislation. let me tell you what i care about. what i care about is making sure that if we're going to spend $2 trillion, that we spend it wisely. and if you spend $2 trillion and you don't stop the virus, then you haven't done anything meaningful in the long run. right? because this is first a public health crisis that is causing an economic crisis. and so, yes, one of the things that is an open issue in
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negotiations right now is whether we were putting in -- we're putting in enough money to hospitals and nursing homes and states and municipalities to give them the resources to stop this virus in its tracks. we don't believe that this bill today has enough resources in it for states, municipalities, hospitals, nursing homes, and health care providers to stop the virus. we don't think that this congress is serious enough about the crisis in the medical supply chain today. -- in which our states and our hospitals and our health care providers are engaged in a lord of the flies environment in which they are trying to bid against each other for scarce medical supplies. we think that this bill shortchanges the people who are actually going to stop this virus in its tracks. and so, yes, we don't think it's wise to rush to spend $2 trillion if the bill doesn't stop the public health epidemic.
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that's a policy decision disagreement that we have. it is a policy disagreement that we have. and had democrats been in the room with the republicans at the beginning, middle, and end, we wouldn't be here today. so as many republicans as they can't can come down in this floor and say it's one party that's responsible for this impasse. but had democrats not been ushered out of the negotiations on saturday night, had democrats been there in from the beginning, we likely wouldn't be here. now, second, yes, we do have policy disagreements over how we spend the enormous amount of money that is going to end up in the hands of corporations. and for those of us who were here in 2008, for those of us that voted for that bailout bill, we have regrets and reservations about how that went down because much of that money ended up in the pockets of
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c.e.o.'s and shareholders. now, i get it. we want to get the money out fast, and you are not going to be able to account for every single dollar. but what we're talking about here, which is applying very minimal conditions for job retention to literally hundreds of billions of dollars in my taxpayer money, is not wise policy. if we don't have assurances that the billions of dollars that we're going to hand to big companies is used to preserve jobs, then i'm going to tell you, my constituents don't want to spend that money unless they know that it's going to hold on to jobs. and we have policy disagreements about that right now. i take my republican friends at their word, that they believe that the restrictions in the bill are good enough. we don't think they are. we don't think they are. and so we think we should work together throughout the day to
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get this right, to make sure that every dollar is there necessary to stop this virus, to stop looking at it at an economic crisis first and a public health crisis second, and that we should make sure that there are real requirements on this $2 trillion to make sure that it doesn't end up in the hands of people who don't need it, that it ends up protecting jobs. not just in the hope of protecting jobs but the actual result is protecting jobs. and these are policy disagreements that we have, but they are disagreements that we are still fighting over today because of the process. because of the process. and so you're angry and we're angry. we're angry for being shut out at the beginning. we're angry for being shut out at the end. because our republican colleagues knew that you couldn't pass anything without 60 votes. you knew as you were developing this legislation that you needed to get bipartisan buy-in, let there is a limited opportunity for us to have input here.
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and now we're engaged in a series of votes that are foregone conclusions until we get on the same page. and we can, because from what i understand -- and i admit i am not one of the negotiators in the room, but from what i understand, these are not unbridgeable differences. these are not unbridgeable differences. and we can figure out a way to put tighter controls on the funding that is going to companies and corporations. just make sure that if we're going to spend $2 trillion, that we spend it right. and to make sure that we aren't shortchanging our states and our hospitals. there's provisions in the first draft of this bill that would limit which kind of providers get medicaid dollars and which won't. our belief is that that language actually leaves a whole bunch of health care providers out in the cold. now, some have said that that was intentional, that that was because republicans didn't want medicaid dollars to go to abortion providers. that sound like politics to me.
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but that's just something i read in the paper. i don't know that that's true. what i do know is that whether or not that decision was about politics, the politics of reproductive health care, it's still not good policy to leave a whole bunch of health care providers outside when it comes to the additional medicaid money that is absolutely necessary to make sure that we have what it takes to stand up defenses against this virus. that's a policy difference. and i can sit here making accusations that republicans are bringing outside political issues into this process, like senator barrasso made accusations about democrats, but aside from that, it is not good policy to limit the number of health care providers that can get this additional medicaid money when everybody is in this together, when we know that every single health care institution by the end of this week is going to be dealing with patients who have positive tests for covid-19. these are policy differences, but policy differences that didn't have to be outstanding today had the process run by the
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majority party been different, been more inclusive. i agree that back home my constituents do not care about who takes credit for this, who drafts it. they want a bill done. they want assurances that money is on the way. and i think we have agreement on big pieces of this. i may not love the small business provision of this bill. i put a different concept on the table that i think is better than the one that democratic and republican colleagues have come up with. but you know what? i will not let on that front the perfect be the enmity of the good. i think we've made -- i will not let on that front the perfect be the enemy of the good. there are good titles of this bill that are in good places. we should be working out the details of those outstanding issues right now rather than spending all of our time on the floor casting broadsides against each other. i understand my republican colleagues are complimenting
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themselves on how many are down here on the floor blaming democrats. you're right. there are not as many democrats here levying the same charges against republicans. but it would be better if we're all spending time trying to work out these final differences. i think we can get there by the end of the day if republicans are committed to making sure that we attack the virus first, that we don't shortchange the public health response, and that we make sure that our taxpayers don't end up subsidizing the profits and pocketbooks of people who don't need anymore help from this government. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. ms. ernst: mr. president, our country is facing a crisis. maybe i don't need to whisper that, mr. president. our country is facing a crisis. i have served many times over --
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many times over -- in crisis. floods, hurricanes, and war in a slightly different suit. we are facing a crisis. we have three states that have had national guardsmen activated in support of the coronavirus pandemic. we are in a crisis. and right now we right here in congress have the ability, the duty to act and to provide additional much-needed relief to the american people.
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last night, and unfortunately yet again today, have been very, very disappointing displays of putting partisan politics ahead of the immediate needs of the american people. some will call this righteous indignation. i say, no, it's fighting for the american people. my friends on the other side of the aisle delayed -- no, let's say it what -- the way it is. they blocked, they blocked this package to move to cloture, to further debate this bill, this bipartisan relief package. and let me make this clear. the votes we've been taking haven't even been on the final bill. it's simply a way for us to continue negotiating and
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debating on a path forward on a bipartisan relief package, a package that, again, i'm going to echo what my colleague from ohio said, was written in a bipartisan way. two republicans, two democrats from those lead committees assigned to these task forces. folks, iowans deserve better than this. all americans deserve better than this. this is no time for political games and partisan wish lists and, yes, there are partisan wish lists out there, of things that have nothing to do with the immediate needs of this pandemic. this is a time for action, folks, and it is a time for leadership. look, folks, the senate took up a house-led phase two package
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that many of us considered not perfect. phase two. now, let's keep that in mind. there are many phases going on during this pandemic. phase two, we didn't feel that was perfect. well, what happens when a phase two is not perfect? you move to a phase three. because we need immediate relief. we put our differences aside here in the senate and we supported -- we supported the phase two package and provided the second round of immediate relief for our workers, our families, our seniors, and businesses across the country. why? folks, gosh darn it, it is the right thing to do. why can't me democratic colleagues do the same? we need to be working in the most efficient and effective way possible, to get immediate
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relief to the men, the women, and the children across this country. we need to get them what they need. i've spoken directly with iowans by phone all week. the small business owners, the members of our ag community, many workers at our hospitals and in our health care industry, these moms and dads, the employees and employers, the grandmas and the grandpas, small business owners, farmers, veterans, you name it -- they are all in crisis at this very moment. i can't tell you how many of those iowans were crying on the phone with me. they keep saying, we need it now. we need relief now. maybe you don't think across the aisle that phase three is perfect.
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but you know what? the longer we delay this, the more iowans i'm going to hear crying on the other end of the phone. not one of them has told me, don't pass this bill. not a single one of them. what me have said is it needs to be done today. again i will remind you that there are states where we have mobilized national guard soldi soldiers. the president and those governors don't just mobilize national guard soldiers because it's a fun thing to do. they do it because we are a nation in crisis. just overnight in iowa, we had 15 more cases. and that's a total of 105 cases of coronavirus in my home state. that's not a lot compared to other states but you know what? iowa is not populated a lotik


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